/ 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.


A 50 litre tank of fuel costs about £65 normally (and for now). Take 5p per litre off and that’s £2.50 less. But to get that £2.50 off you must buy £50 worth of groceries.
Perhaps another way to look at it is if you bought fuel from the supermarket at full price you can get 5% off your groceries. The sums are the same?
It’s a promotion they’ve been doing this and similar for years. It only becomes emotive because it’s Petrol.
The Governments approach to fuel cost is another issue completely.
Fuel tax at about 65p and VAT at 20% on top resulting in the tax take being well in excess of 50% of what you pay at the pump. This is legalised robbery pure and simple. I don’t know about you but certainly didn’t vote for that.
Yet people still seem to place most blaim for high fuel costs on the oil companies?
Strange world isn’t it?


I agree Chris, but I think it’s a good deal being offered by supermarkets right now because it’s timely. With the influx of bank holidays upon us, most of us are going to be spending more on groceries anyway. So why not combine your larger shop with fuel savings? It’s certainly better than offering nothing at all.

trevor brown says:
21 April 2011

on paper it looks a good deal, but when you compare the shop prices with other supermarkets you are spending more money on the shopping so you are not really saving money. it should be our con-dem government to cut the taxes on all the fuel we buy


Sainsburys did this recently and we took advantage of it, like you say, only 2.50 off but its still 2.50 off something I was going to buy anyway.

The real ploy here though is to ensure that I fill up where I live. Rugby – St Albans, the difference in price per litre is…….



nothing will make me shop in morrisons again though, be it bread/meat/deli/fruit – it’s all way worse than any other supermarket I’ve been to

pete says:
21 April 2011

One thing not mentioned in this article is the Shell ‘Drivers Club’ Loyalty scheme (don’t know whether BP or others do one too). Buy petrol, earn points, get a voucher for a discount. I don’t use my car that often, but my most recent voucher gave me £3.50 off a tank (min 20ltrs) of V-Power – it’s £3.00 off normal unleaded/diesel, with no minimum. A better saving that at Sainsburys or Morrisons for 50ltrs, and the quality of the fuel is better. You will also get vouchers for free coffee etc at their petrol stations, so the savings continue…

Ken (Wigan) says:
21 April 2011

If it wasn`t for supermarket fuel stations, the price of a litre now would be heading towards the £2 mark. Everybody should use the supermaket fuel, then the big oil companies, eg. Esso, Texaco would have to toe the line.

pete says:
21 April 2011

the stuff they sell is not that good as I know a golf gti that gets 50 miles less using super market fuel on a tank, also I work on cars and if they use supermarket fuel they are more likly to need a cat for the mot, they are oute to make money. if the fuel was the same as other sellers it would be worth using but right now I wont use it.

Sue Eske says:
21 April 2011

Think the fuel offers at supermarkets are great – unfortunately only have a Tesco petrol station in
our nearest town – Sainsbury’s 15 miles away – Morrisons 14 miles- a big help as we have two
big cars (do less then 4000 miles in each per annum now – so still very green!) but the Tesco
petrol offers do help. Don’t see why special deals any different to other special offers at