Asda has once again taken the lead by cutting the price of fuel at its 322 filling stations across the UK.
Effective today, unleaded with be trimmed by 2p a litre while diesel will come down a penny to reflect shrinking wholesale prices.
Drivers filling up at any Asda petrol station will pay no more than 117.7p per litre for petrol and 122.7p for diesel in a welcome boost for motorists before heading off on their Christmas holidays.
The announcement follows confirmation of Boris Johnson and the Conservative’s majority general election result, with the Prime Minister previously promising that drivers will not be hit with an increase in tax on fuel for the foreseeable future.
Asda cuts fuel: Drivers filling up at the supermarket’s forecourts from today will pay no more than 117.7p for a litre of petrol and 122.7p for diesel
These price cuts are now widely expected to be matched by the other supermarket fuel chain forced to go blow-for-blow with Asda yet again.
Sainsbury’s has already confirmed it is ‘slashing’ the price of fuel by the same amounts, though has delayed the reduction to Sunday.
The cut to pump prices follows the AA’s criticism last week of fuel vouchers and discounts being offered by some of the big four.
Both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have deals in place offering 10p a litre off at the forecourts if motorists spend £60 or more in store – the former ending on 15 December and the latter’s extended to 20 December.
The motoring group said these offers discriminated against some drivers, namely the elderly, low-income and single customers who are unlikely to spend such amounts on groceries.
A poll of 18,000 AA members revealed 58 per cent of people consider money-off fuel offers an ‘underhand way’ of getting shoppers to spend more money at the brand.
And 38 per cent said they felt manipulated by fuel offers tied to how much they spend at supermarkets.
Asda said it wanted to avoid these deals and instead pass on savings from wholesale cuts to all drivers.
Dave Tyrer, senior fuel buyer said: ‘We know how important saving money is for our customers at this time of year, so we will always aim to keep the cost of essentials down whether that’s on fuel, food or fashion.
‘Over the last two weeks we’ve brought fuel prices down by up to 4p per litre without any vouchering requirements meaning all our customers, regardless of their budget, will benefit from a price cut at the pumps.’
The remaining big four supermarkets are now expected to match these cuts, despite some already having voucher deals in place that have been criticised by experts as discriminatory
Though yet to be confirmed, the rest of the big four will feel the pressure to match these savings over the weekend – most likely being put in place from Saturday.
It marks the second price cut at the pumps in three weeks, with Asda initiating the last fuel war on 22 November.
‘Asda’s price cuts mean that lower-spending drivers, such as the young, lower-income workers, people who live on their own and many of the elderly, are no longer frozen out from the benefit of reduced wholesale costs,’ a spokesman for the AA said.
‘As has become an established pattern this year, other supermarkets have waited for Asda to make the first move in a series of pump price skirmishes – meanwhile tying fuel savings to £40 or £60 spends in store.
‘That works for some shoppers but the Populus survey of thousands of drivers shows that many others resent being left out in the cold when it comes to cheaper fuel.’
Asda made the announcement shortly after the election polls were confirmed on Friday morning.
In response to the result, the pound has risen to a 19-month high against the dollar, which – if retained – means pump prices should fall.
This is the second fuel price cut led by Asda in three weeks offering some respite to drivers ahead of the festive season
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams added: ‘A cut in fuel prices before Christmas is good news for everyone who will be taking to the roads to visit family and friends. By knocking 2p a litre off unleaded Asda has taken its price 8p below the UK average of 125.77p.
‘While the other supermarkets will respond this is likely only to be a token cut as they are currently charging 2p more than Asda a litre. RAC Fuel Watch data shows a marked change in the pricing strategy of the other three supermarkets as in 2016 they were only a penny more expensive on average than Asda. Over the course of three years the gap has slowly widened at the expense of drivers all over the country.
‘The unfortunate result is that other fuel retailers, not near Asda forecourts, don’t have to lower their prices as much to compete, meaning the UK average price doesn’t fall as far as it really should. This makes every fill-up that much more expensive.’
With some UK parties threatening an increase in fuel duty after a decade of freeze at 57.95p a litre, Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign said it was important for the new Tory administration be ‘cognisant that UK drivers are still the highest taxed in the world and wrongly subject to punitive charges and bans for all urban emissions’.
‘They [motorists] must not be taken for granted,’ he said.
Over 90 per cent of FairFuelUK supporters want Boris’s administration, with this safe majority, to immediately develop a long-term roads transport strategy, that’s fair to drivers, the economy and the environment, without perennially treating them as easy cash cows.
‘We stand ready to work with the Prime Minister and all positive stakeholders to make this happen. Emotive health claims from the scaremongering Greens and fleecing hard working drivers in the pocket will not clean the air we breathe,’ Cox added.
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