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Rural Wales misses out on cheaper diesel.

Byline: Darren Devine Reporter

DRIVERS can fill up on diesel for less than PS1 per litre after three supermarket giants slashed prices yesterday. Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's are selling the fuel for less than the symbolic level, but countryside group the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) said people beyond urban areas are effectively excluded from the price drops.

At the Texaco service station on Bridge Street, in Knighton, Powys, diesel was 105.9p per litre, and unleaded 104.9p yesterday.

Similarly at the Parciau Filling Station on the High Street, in Criccieth, Gwynedd, diesel was 105.9p and unleaded 104.9.

At the Forge Filling Station, on Carmarthen Road, in St Clears, Carmarthen, diesel was 102.9p and unleaded 104.9p Director of CPRW Peter Ogden said he paid around 106p per litre for diesel in Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, on Sunday.

He said: "This is the real problem - that while those who have access to the supermarket are going to be able to benefit from these reductions in prices, the majority of rural people would have to travel 40 to 50 miles to a facility to get the petrol at the cheaper prices and that defeats the object of the exercise.

"It's this question of when we'll see this price advantage cascade into the rural areas."

Asda was the first to move with a 3p per litre cut on diesel at its 279 stations - making it the first retailer to bring diesel prices to below PS1. Tesco said it would also be dropping the price of diesel to 99.7p at all of its 500 filling stations.

Sainsbury's said its diesel would cost 99.9p across its 301 forecourts, adding its petrol customers had been filling up for under PS1 since December 12.

Mr Ogden said he would like to see smaller petrol forecourt firms clubbing together to give themselves greater buying power so they could offer the same discounts to motorists in rural areas as supermarkets do their customers in urban areas.

He added: "If you look at the way energy pricing is operating now where you're getting a consortium of organisations who are negotiating reduced prices for energy I've taken advantage of it.

"You join an energy club and they negotiate with the big suppliers a preferential rate on energy prices. If there was a way in which some of the rural operators could collectively work together to negotiate reduced prices that might be the way forward."

After the cut by Asda, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, suggested there had been a delay in passing on lower wholesale diesel prices to motorists.

He said: "It seems the January sales are extending beyond the high street to garage forecourts.

"The question is, why haven't we seen these bargains sooner and more widely? After all, the wholesale price of diesel has been below that of petrol since early December, yet the story at the pumps has been the opposite with diesel 3p or 4p a litre higher throughout that period," he said.

"More generally, low pump prices are a product of a barrel of oil changing hands for less than a third of the price it did 18 months ago."

The Petrol Retailers Association claims there is no "direct linear relationship" between forecourt prices and the cost of a barrel of oil.

They maintain it's the UK wholesale cost in pence per litre that drives pump prices, rather than a barrel of oil in US dollars.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 5, 2016
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