Petrol price war breaks out in supermarkets

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A petrol price war broke out between the filling stations run by three of Britain's top supermarkets yesterday.

It began when Asda cut fuel prices at most of its filling stations by a minimum of 1.2p a litre. Tesco responded by promising to match the cuts at nearby stores, while Morrisons knocked 1p a litre off its fuel.

Asda's price cut will affect 142 of its filling stations that previously offered the Fill 'n' Save loyalty card, which is being discontinued. The company said the move fulfilled its promise to re-invest all the savings from scrapping its fuel card into lower prices that benefited all drivers. Average fuel prices at its stores will now be 73.6p per litre for unleaded, 74.7p per litre for diesel and 75.4p per litre for lead replacement petrol.

Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket chain, has promised to match the prices at garages within three miles of its stores. A spokesman said: "We won't be beaten on price and will immediately cut prices at our forecourts within a three-mile radius of Asda."

Morrisons said all 90 of its petrol stations would be reducing pump prices by 1p a litre, bringing unleaded petrol down to 73.9p per litre and diesel to 74.9p a litre.

A spokesman for Morrisons said: "Recent increases in forecourt prices were forced by a 50 per cent rise in the cost price of fuel before duty, driven by tension in the Middle East.

"However, the cost price has now fallen and, as always, we are passing the savings on to our customers."