Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Retail giants cut petrol prices... but cost of diesel is unchanged

Northern Ireland’s supermarket fuel price war took another turn today with the announcement of further cuts in the cost of petrol.

The big three supermarkets here — Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco — announced yesterday that prices for unleaded petrol at their forecourts will drop as low as 92.9p.

Asda kick-started the drop by announcing that it would be dropping two pence from the price of its unleaded from today, bringing it down to 92.9p a litre.

The cuts apply to each of Asda’s seven petrol forecourts in Northern Ireland and mark the ninth time the supermarket has slashed the price of petrol since July.

However, Asda said it would not be able to bring down the cost of its diesel as well due to cost prices.

Asda trading director Darren Blackhurst said: “We are seeing further reductions in our cost price which we’re immediately passing on to all our customers as we continue to lead down the price of petrol. Diesel costs remain high and leave no room for further cuts at this stage.”

Meanwhile, Tesco said it will reduce its unleaded petrol by 2p per litre, although the company has a price differential of about 3p a litre depending on where fuel is bought at its 430 UK outlets, 12 of which are in Northern Ireland.

The 2p reduction will take the lowest Tesco petrol pump price down to 92.9p a litre. The price of Tesco diesel, which starts at 106.9p a litre, remains unchanged.

However, the store has pointed out that it is now running a promotion which entitles customers who spend £50 or more either in store or online to 5p off every full litre of petrol or diesel they buy, up to a maximum of 100 litres.

Gary Mills, Stores Director of Tesco Northern Ireland, said: “Feedback from customers has told us how much they like the 5p off per litre fuel promotion. This is now the third time we have run this scheme since the summer.”

And James Tan, Sainsbury’s Head of Petrol, said the store would be offering its customers a “competitive price” for fuel.

“Many of our outlets will drop to 92.9p as of today,” he said.

“In addition, we are currently offering a 5p per litre discount when £50 or more is spent in store, and customers can also earn Nectar points on fuel purchases.”

Sainsbury’s diesel prices will also remain steady at 106.9p per litre.

North Belfast MP and Stormont Finance Minister Nigel Dodds welcomed the price cut and said he hoped more would be on the way. “It is absolutely essential that fuel and energy companies pass on reductions in crude oil prices as quickly as possible to consumers,” he said.

“The price of crude oil has come down substantially from what it was a few months ago. Consumers rightly will want to see that translated into reduced retail prices.”

The rapidly lowering fuel prices — by around 30p over the past few months — have seen Northern Ireland coming increasingly into line with the Republic, where petrol prices have traditionally been cheaper in the past number of years.

According to website www.pumps.ie, this week’s average price for petrol per litre in the Republic of Ireland is 113.9c (approx 91p), while diesel averages out at around 115.9c (93p).

Some filling stations in the areas around Dundalk and Carrickmacross were yesterday offering unleaded for between 109.9c (88p) and 113.9c (92.7p) per litre.

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