Fuel prices to be slashed by supermarkets

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The Independent Online

Many of the UK's top supermarkets are to cut their fuel prices.

Tesco led the way by saying it had, as of yesterday, slashed 3p a litre off the cost of its petrol and diesel. Later Sainsbury's and Asda said they would introduce similar cuts from today. Morrisons then announced that its petrol and diesel prices would also fall by the same margins today.

The chains were responding to a significant fall in the cost of oil globally, sparked by the opening of emergency reserves by the International Energy Agency.

The cuts were welcomed by the AA and the RAC and hopes were expressed that there would be reductions at the pumps. Tesco said it wanted to pass on the benefit of a fall in oil prices to customers straight away, while Asda said its reduction would mean none of its customers would pay more than 130.7p a litre for petrol or more than 134.7p a litre for diesel.

AA president Edmund King said: "We welcome this rapid 3p reduction in fuel prices and hope that other retailers will follow this lead. Earlier this week, the AA revealed that high fuel prices are now affecting a record three-quarters of drivers, who are having to cut back on journeys, cut back on other expenditure or cut back on both.

"Reduced fuel prices will help the general economy to recover, as lower prices at the pumps means more spending elsewhere."

RAC spokesman Adrian Tink said: "This looks like it's the start of price war at the pumps, which is always good news for motorists. Our motoring report this week showed the detrimental impact high fuel prices are having on family life, with people having to cut back on visiting family, taxiing children and maintaining a social life. These cuts will certainly help those struggling, but the price of fuel is still eating away into over-stretched family budgets."

Oil prices have been driven up in recent months due to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. In the UK, the recent record was 137.43p per litre for petrol and 143.04p for diesel in early May.