Fuel Prices Just Another ‘Postcode Lottery’:

24-Oct-2012 SimplyPostcode™

If you’ve been on your holidays around the UK this summer you many have noticed the difference in prices at the petrol pumps at supermarkets.

Having visited Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, I was interested to hear that councillors there claim that leading retailers are in general charging more for petrol and diesel at supermarkets in rural areas, compared with those in larger towns or cities.

This has prompted calls for the government to investigate supermarket fuel prices.  Although as the one of the major contributors to the price of fuel, with fuel duty at 58p per litre plus VAT at 20% adding up to 70p tax on every litre, they may not be so quick to condemn the supermarket giants.

Councillor Tony Bridges from East Lindsey District Council believes motorists in his part of Lincolnshire pay more for their supermarket fuel than drivers in other parts of the county.  He said: "I fine it quite extraordinary that household food such as bread and milk cost exactly the same in most supermarkets, but when you get to fuel prices they are vastly different. It's like a postcode lottery."

The big supermarkets have long used discounted fuel as a way to attract shoppers to their stores and a Tesco spokesman has this to say "As is the case with all other petrol retailers in the UK, Tesco does not operate with one national price.  Our clear goal for customers is to endeavour to be competitive on petrol and diesel in the local catchment area for each store."

One example of prices varying so drastically at the pumps recently was at Tesco in Cleethorpes where they were charging 3p a litre more for petrol and diesel in comparison with one of its stores in Lincoln, less than 40 miles away.

Many other supermarkets also seem to operate a similar policy, although a spokeswoman for Asda said: "We always set a maximum national price cap, whereas our competition charges higher prices from town to town."

In a recent AA survey they revealed that the cheapest petrol could be found in Yorkshire and Humberside with the most expensive in Northern Ireland.   Although the government recently announced it had postponed its 3p a litre rise in fuel duty from August until January 2013, may be postponing this altogether and investigating this fuel postcode lottery would helps consumers more.