Supermarket adds 5p on fuel

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The Independent Online

The supermarket chain Safeway stunned motorists today by increasing its unleaded petrol price from 79.9p to 84.9p a litre.

The supermarket chain Safeway stunned motorists today by increasing its unleaded petrol price from 79.9p to 84.9p a litre.

A spokesman said the price had been unsustainable, adding: "At 79.9p we were losing money. Our average cost of petrol has gone up to 82p litre."

Safeway is going to allow shoppers who spend £40 or more at the supermarket to claim a 10p per litre discount.

David Handley, spokesman for the newly-formed People's Fuel Lobby, described the Safeway price hike on unleaded petrol as "insensitive".

"All it is going to do is provoke aggravation. I should think they are going to lose themselves an awful lot of shoppers.

"People will just vote with their feet. I think it is totally insensitive and a very silly thing to do. I would suggest it is very, very bad timing.

"My advice to people would be to keep calm and vote, or rather shop, with your feet and look after the ones who look after you," added Mr Handley.

Tom Houghton, spokesman for Farmers For Action and one of the leaders of the Stanlow Shell Oil Refinery protest in Cheshire said: "I cannot understand why Safeway have done this in the current climate and think people should simply refuse to buy petrol there."

Mr Houghton, a farm manager from Sandbach, Cheshire, added: "Esso were forced into a U-turn after public outcry at their price hike last week and I think Safeway will soon understand what people power is."

Safeway said its four-star price was going up from 84.9p to 88.9p per litre and diesel was up to 85.9p from 81.9p.

A spokeswoman for oil company Shell said: "We have not made any recommendations for price increases in the last week or so and I'm not aware of any plans to do so."

Texaco said it was "continuing to hold" its prices at pre-blockade levels.

"We have not got plans at the moment to increase prices," a spokeswoman said.

Esso, which was forced to climbdown during the fuel blockades after raising prices, said: "At the moment we haven't had any price change.

"We are still sticking to the statement we released last week saying that our prices were down.

"We are not doing a price increase today, but we're not speculating on what we do in the future. We cannot speculate what will happen but today we are not doing a price increase," a spokeswoman said.

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