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UK drivers ‘still losing out at the pumps due to general election distraction’

RAC data reveals that UK drivers, except those in Northern Ireland, are facing higher fuel prices due to high retailer margins and political distraction from the General Election

UK drivers are facing higher fuel prices compared to those in Northern Ireland, according to recent data from the RAC.

The organisation points out that while wholesale costs for petrol and diesel have been falling since late April, average prices across the UK remain disproportionately high.

This is attributed to the lack of political attention on the issue due to the ongoing general election.

The average price for petrol in the UK stands at 146.28p per litre, which is 5p higher than the price in Northern Ireland.

Diesel prices show an even larger disparity, with UK drivers paying an average of 151.5p per litre compared to 141.9p in Northern Ireland.

The RAC notes that the UK has had the highest diesel prices in Europe for the past seven weeks.

The average UK diesel price is 8p higher than in Finland and 20p above the EU average.

This overcharging results in extra costs for drivers, with a full tank of petrol costing £80.50 and diesel costing £83.30 for a typical 55-litre family car.

Retailer margins are currently at 14p per litre for petrol and 16p for diesel, which the RAC argues is excessive compared to the long-term average margins of 8p.

In Northern Ireland, margins are lower, averaging 10p for petrol and 9p for diesel.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “Our data clearly shows that pump prices haven’t fallen in line with the reduction in wholesale prices, so drivers across the UK – with the exception of those in Northern Ireland where fairer prices are charged – are once again losing several pounds every time they fill up.

“Having monitored prices for so long we believe there’s no good reason for retailers in Great Britain not cutting their prices at the pumps far further. We can only think they’re hoping no one will notice due to the distraction of the general election.

“We hope that the Competition and Markets Authority is aware of what is going on and will use this to bring retailers into line as soon as it’s able to – something which is so desperately needed given drivers in Northern Ireland are paying so much less for the very same fuel.

“It’s important to realise that the big four supermarkets have a far smaller presence there than on the other side of the Irish Sea as they only operate around 6% of the Northern Ireland’s 580 forecourts. This compares to supermarkets running a fifth of the UK’s 8,300 forecourts.”

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