Independent fuel retailers are leading the way on charging “a fair price” for petrol and diesel, according to new analysis.
An RAC investigation found that only about 4% of forecourts are charging below 180p per litre for petrol.
Four-out-of-five of those are independent sites, with the rest owned by either supermarkets or oil companies.
More than three-quarters of the 5% of filling stations selling diesel for less than 190p per litre are independently-owned.
Traditionally supermarkets have been the first to make price cuts.
The RAC said the average price that retailers pay to buy petrol has fallen by 17p per litre from the start of June, but pump prices have only dropped by “a paltry 4p”.
It believes drivers should only be charged around 174p per litre for petrol and 189p per litre for diesel.
Latest Experian figures show the average price of a litre of petrol on Wednesday was 187.5p, while diesel was 196.1p.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “In this most expensive of summers, drivers need all the help they can get to keep their spending down.
“We applaud those retailers who are doing the right thing for their customers and charging a fair price for petrol and diesel, more in line with the lower wholesale costs.
“It appears to be the case that it’s no longer the big four supermarkets that lead on price, but instead smaller independent sites that are prepared to buck the national forecourt trend.
“Drivers who fill up at supermarket forecourts have every right to feel that they are being charged well over the odds for petrol and diesel right now.”
AA fuel price spokesman Luke Bosdet claimed the ability of “maverick fuel stations with awesome prices” to influence other retailers in their area is limited.
He said: “The locals will know about them, passing drivers will discover them and the fuel price search apps will find them if the search is in the right place.
“However, it will take the level of fuel price transparency that is available to drivers in Northern Ireland, courtesy of the Consumer Council’s Fuel Price Checker, to resurrect the degree of competition enjoyed before the pandemic.”
A recent review of fuel prices by the Competition and Markets Authority found that the Government could consider introducing an “open data scheme” which would make individual forecourt prices available to the public.