/ Money, Motoring, Shopping

Supermarkets shouldn’t be responsible for cutting fuel costs

Sainsburys petrol station

Morrisons has just become the latest supermarket to offer discounted fuel for customers who spend a certain amount in its stores. Great – but why are supermarkets doing more to drive prices down than government?

The retailer has joined Sainsbury’s and the Co-op in what is being deemed the ‘fuel war’ to offer the cheapest petrol prices ahead of the upcoming bank holidays, when consumer spending will spike dramatically.

Morrisons’s new ‘Fuel Britannia’ deal rewards shoppers who spend more than £40 in one of its stores with 6p off a litre of fuel, cutting average costs from 134p to 128p per litre.

Currently, the Co-op offers 5p off a litre when you spend £30 in store, and Sainsbury’s knocks the same off every litre for those who spend £50 or more with it.

Government efforts look puny

You could argue that this is just an attempt by a UK blue chip company to get its hands on a bigger slice of increased consumer outgoings over the next few weeks. After all, we’ll be spending an extra £260m on food during the Easter, royal wedding and May Day bank holidays.

But actually, I think it’s great news for consumers. Not only that, it shows retailers are doing far more to slash the price of fuel than the government.

This fuel war means we’ll see significant price reductions on forecourts all over the country for the first time in months, following unsuccessful efforts by the government to ease the ever-increasing cost of motoring.

George Osborne’s Budget 2011 promises to reduce fuel costs by cutting fuel duty by 1p and introducing a fair fuel stabiliser have done very little to ease the battering that drivers’ wallets have taken in the last few months.

According to reports, margins on supermarket fuel are already very low, but retailers are still willing to offer handsome savings at the pump as a reward for spending more money with them.

Reap the benefits

As long as supermarkets keep challenging one another to offer the best fuel discounts in return for buying their products, we’ll reap the benefits every time we shop and fill up.

This is great news, but I still want to know why are supermarkets are leading the way. In my mind, far stronger action should be taken by the government to reduce the cost of petrol and diesel, instead of it being left to retailers who are competing for our business.

Rob says:
24 April 2011

There are so many reasons for wanting cheaper fuel costs as we all try to balance the cost of general living expenses. I understand the reason behind taxes, but if every government made better use of financial resources to every necessary component of running the country perhap sthe need for high fuel prices would not be needed. Fuel tax is an easy option for raising money. Its about time we in the UK began saying No. we seem to intervene in foreigh affairs much to often. Save money… fire less rockets, drop less bombs. Reduce tax and support the local economy.
I am selling my VW to buy a more economical 60MPG car…… just another economy in life.
As for Applecross……. yep Have been their on the motorbike. Love Scotland… but trying to find Petrol in scotland on a Sunday is a real nightmare!

Les says:
24 April 2011

I spent the required £50 at tesco to get my voucher for deisel. I duly filled up and
used my voucher onl to drive past a nearby filling station to find the advertised price
4p cheaper than tesco,s advertised price. My saving equalled 1p a litre, so much for
supermarket savings. BAH.

Keith says:
25 April 2011

How will life seem when we have not only killed off our local shops ,but we have only supermarket service stations to get our fuel from. Why do we seem determined to let these companies dictate how our future will be. Oh! but the good deals may still be around until the Supermarkets have killed each other off as well.
Really, will we all be saving very much when we have to get the car out for every purchase. I can see everybody having to operate as if they live in the Australian outback to make shopping efficient.

AMDP says:
26 April 2011

Again the price of petrol, where I live – a Scottish Island we have 1 supermarket with no petrol station, is £149.9 Admittedly I am a single person but I would love the chance to have 5p a litre off!
Certainly my main shopping even once a fortnight would be over £40. Diesel of course is about £157.
Surely something should be done about this.!

Fred says:
26 April 2011

Tesco Express is our only local supermarket filling station, and it seems they are not prepared to offer any deals. Whenever our other local garage increases it’s price, Tesco do the same, and only give you half the points on your card that they would give you on your grocery shopping, so it’s hardly worth making a detour to fill up there. Why can’t they sell all their fuel at the same price up and down the country, surely they buy it at the same price. They are 5p per litre more expensive than supermarkets 20 miles away.

Frank Ashley says:
28 April 2011

A few years ago, supermarket fuel was always 2-5p/litre cheaper than local filling stations, although then as now the price varied, sometimes by several p/litre, from town to town with no logical reason other than that is what they could demand. Now that many local filling stations have gone to the wall, frequently there is little or no difference in price; in fact recently in Stratford on Avon the local Shell station was 1p/litre cheaper than Tesco. “Every little helps” said the sign by its filling station, but in this case the help was to Tesco.

On a slightly different tack, why is diesel once again significantly more expensive than petrol? In Europe it is much cheaper.

Willie Coupe says:
8 May 2011

Increased fuel costs actually help smaller local shops v. the supermarkets as people are more likely to use them rather than travel to the supermarket. This also means less fuel is burnt, making my air slightly cleaner and more healthy. A third benefit is that less driving or slower more economical driving means less likelihood of people being killed on the roads.