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Inflamed: A row has erupted over filling stations' prices as strike talks go on


Robin Roberts

Filling stations have been accused of profiteering from the panic over fuel supplies before and since Easter.

Clear evidence of naked profiteering is claimed by the Road Haulage Association.

“We have no doubt that diesel prices at the forecourt have rocketed as a result of the uncertainty caused by the threat of a tanker drivers’ strike”, said RHA Chief Executive Geoff Dunning.

“Retailers have doubled their profit margin on diesel over the past month. While the wholesale price of diesel has come down, none of this has been passed on to road users and if anything the price at the pump has gone up.

“There is no justification whatever for this excessive charging. Profit margins on diesel were already reasonable and have now doubled to around 7.4 pence a litre.

“This aggressive pricing amounts to more than the Chancellor’s hugely unwelcome duty increase due on August 1, when fuel tax goes up by 3.02 pence/litre.

“The predatory pricing by retailers is a severe blow the economy and, of particular concern to the RHA, to smaller hauliers who do not have their own bulk fuel supplies but make payments linked to forecourt prices.”

He concluded, “If this goes on any longer, the RHA is considering referring forecourt pricing to the Office of Fair Trading”.

Talks have been progressing on the fuel tanker drivers’ dispute and it is hoped a settlement will be reached this week and an offer will be put to the 2,000 drivers who have so far said they are prepared to take industrial action over their concerns and pay.

The Government has also been criticized for pressing ahead with training for Army drivers to handle and deliver fuel in the event of a strike.

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