Belfast Telegraph

Rural Northern Ireland motorists pay £5 more for a tankful of fuel

By Claire McNeilly

Motorists in rural areas of Northern Ireland are paying up to 10p per litre - or £5 a tank - more for petrol than their urban counterparts, it has emerged.

The current 'rocket and feather' pump tariffs - where petrol prices rapidly shoot up but fall at a glacial rate - are particularly prevalent in less populated areas which don't have competitive supermarkets, the AA has claimed.

Indeed, drivers in some country areas are still paying prices close to the Hurricane Harvey highs of six weeks ago.

At the start of this week, instead of returning to the August level, petrol averaged 118.02p in the UK, but the Belfast Telegraph has seen even higher tariffs in Northern Ireland. At one filling station in Whitehead, readers reported a 121.9ppl price tag at the pumps, while unleaded was costing 121p in Dunmurry and 120.9p at a Texaco garage in Doagh.

AA president Edmund King said drivers are once again suffering from unfair rocket and feather pump prices, with "drivers being taken for a ride".

He said: "Outside urban areas with supermarket competition, drivers are being fleeced by the feather effect each time they go to rural forecourts and see fuel costs that are up to 10p a litre higher than in bigger towns. But it's not just rural small town forecourts. Petrol pump prices in general are 1p to 2p a litre higher than they were in August when the wholesale price was slightly higher. That is adding to inflation and the burden on families and young workers who rely on their car.

"The UK consumes 1.4 billion litres of petrol a month and the 1.5p-a-litre feathering of falling pump prices diverts £21m a month away from potential high street spending - money that hard-pressed consumers could use to combat inflation in the shops."

With inflation sitting at its highest for more than five years, average UK petrol prices are up to 2p a litre or £1 a tank higher than they should be, according to the latest AA Fuel Price Report.

Diesel at the pump averaged 120.30p a litre. A month ago, retail petrol averaged 119.82p and diesel 120.53p a litre.

Belfast Telegraph

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