Supermarkets lead way in petrol price wars in Gloucestershire
PETROL price wars are hotting up on the forecourts around Cheltenham.
Motorists in the town could save hundreds of pounds on their bills as leading supermarkets Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose all promised to slash the price of fuel by as much as 3p a litre.
But transport companies in the town said there needed to be more consistency in the prices for it to have any helpful effect on their business. The drop comes just weeks after fears the price of fuel would reach a record high in the UK.
Asda was the first to make the pledge, saying it would cap prices at 135.7p for unleaded and 139.7p for diesel at its site in Up Hatherley.
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It was followed by the other two supermarkets, which both promised to match Asda.
Janet Lawrence, of family-run firm Bob Lawrence Light Haulage in Castlefields Road, Cheltenham, said many transport firms were having to absorb the changes in prices.
She said: "Any reduction in fuel is going to be good but it must be sustained.
"It may give us a momentary benefit but, in the long term, it is not going to do anything unless everyone else follows the lead.
"We may get 1p off this week but there could be 3p going back on again the next.
"It fluctuates so much and we need to have more consistency.
"Fuel is our main expenditure but budgeting for it is hard. We cannot just change our prices as the cost of fuel goes up and down."
The cost of oil has fallen in the past 10 days with Brent crude in London sliding six per cent to US$110 a barrel.
But this is still 25 per cent higher than in mid-June.
Earlier this year the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) launched a review into whether or not reductions in the price of crude oil were being passed on to motorists.
It will explore a number of claims about how the road fuels sector is functioning, including whether supermarkets and major oil companies are making it more difficult for independent retailers to compete.
Economists have warned the rate of inflation is not likely to fall as rapidly as forecast due to pressure from oil prices.