Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Asda steps up the fuel war with a further cut

Supermarket giant set to reduce prices at seven Ulster forecourts

Supermarket giant Asda has vowed to make further cuts on its fuel prices from tomorrow.

The latest reductions will take the chain’s price for a litre of unleaded petrol to 97.9p and diesel to 109.9p at all seven of its Ulster forecourts.

The move comes after heavyweight retailer Morrisons announced a two pence reduction on its fuel costs across the UK — but with no sites here, drivers in Northern Ireland will not benefit from the fuel price war that is gripping Great Britain.

Interestingly, some independent retailers across the province had already slashed their prices to under £1 at the weekend — Carlisle’s Fresh Foods in Ballynahinch, for example, was charging 97.9p a litre for unleaded and 108.9p for diesel.

Last week, the big four UK supermarkets cut their fuel prices, but only Asda dropped petrol prices below £1 a litre for ALL Northern Ireland customers.

Sainsbury’s, also with seven filling stations here, weighed into the war by matching Asda prices at some local sites. Meanwhile, Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, with 12 forecourts here, reduced unleaded to 99.9p and diesel to a low of 111.9p elsewhere — but not everywhere in Northern Ireland.

Asda trading director Darren Blackhurst today said: “We expect oil prices to fluctuate in the coming weeks and will continue to pass on cost savings to customers whenever and wherever possible.”

Sainsbury’s earlier said it had brought the price down to 99.9p a litre for most of its customers, although it added the cost of fuel varied across the UK as prices were set locally.

A Tesco spokeswoman said that from today their customers will be offered an extra 5p off per litre of fuel when they spend £50 in store. She added: “On top of this there is the 1p saving for every £1 spent with Clubcard.”

Yesterday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown repeated calls for energy firms to slash fuel bills as gas and oil costs fall.

With winter approaching, the Prime Minister urged suppliers to pass on their savings from declining wholesale prices |to hard-pressed consumers.

Writing in The People newspaper, Mr Brown said: “Now that global oil and gas prices are falling, we will demand that energy companies pass on these cuts to their customers as price reductions as soon as possible.”

Pressure has been building on garages and energy suppliers to cut prices as the cost of oil has fallen to less than half its 147 dollar-a-barrel high in July.

This has helped wholesale gas prices to slump by about 20% from its record levels in the summer.

But oil prices rose to 73 US dollars a barrel in Asia today amid expectations that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) will cut production quotas at an extraordinary meeting later this week.

Chakib Khelil, president of OPEC and Algeria’s Energy Minister, said members plan to announce a “substantial” cut at the meeting in Vienna.

Last week Gordon Brown said it was “absolutely scandalous” that oil-producing nations were thinking of cutting production so they can push up the price of oil again.

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