Petrol pump price wars hits Gloucester
AS fuel prices across the country hold steady, one garage in Gloucester is determined to keep dropping its rates and keep things competitive.
Sparrows Wharf Petrol Station in Bristol Road has the joint lowest price in the city, currently at 129.9 pence a litre.
And staff there have challenged its nearest competitor Sainsbury's at Gloucester Quays to beat its prices.
Owner Tom Nicholls said he saw keeping prices low as part of a public service.
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"We find that the supermarket is always lowering its prices to beat us," he said.
"We are a family business and know that budgets are always stretched. We try to do our bit to keep the prices low in order to help our customers out."
But despite petrol prices having fallen across the country, drivers are still being short-changed, according to the AA.
Average petrol prices have gone down from 138.95p a litre in mid-October to 135.08p, with diesel dropping from 143.74p a litre to 141.89p.
Experts said the fall in wholesale petrol prices across Europe should have knocked UK pump prices down by 10p to 11p a litre.
The AA said that UK drivers were also suffering again from "price postcode lottery" where motorists in one area can be charged as much as 5p a litre more than drivers a few miles away.
Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers' Association, which represents 5,500 independent forecourts, blamed this on supermarkets and motorway service stations – something with which Mr Nichols agrees.
He said: "Where there are places with only supermarkets, the prices tend to be high. But if you have independent stations like ours then their prices have to fall to fend off the competition. We have five service stations and find we are a permanent thorn in the side of supermarkets.
"We will continue to remain competitive and look forward to the competition."
However, despite Sparrows Wharf keeping prices low in Gloucester, the cheapest petrol rate in Cheltenham is 131.9p, whereas in Stroud it is 132.7p and 134.9p in the Forest of Dean.