Supermarket giants Morrisons and Asda have reduced their fuel prices by 12p per litre for petrol and 8ppl for diesel as the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis continues.
The cuts follow a plunge in oil prices caused by a trade war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which saw Saudi Arabia – which produces about 10% of the world’s oil – decide to slash prices and ramp up its production.
These factors have seen a barrel of Brent crude oil – which is the measure most often used – fall by around 60% since the beginning of the year to an 18-year low.
The Fleet News Regional Fuel Prices tool reports that on March 23, the average price of a litre of diesel was 122.01p and unleaded 118.69p.
Simon Williams, fuel spokesman at the RAC, said: “These unprecedented times are leading to unprecedented price cuts on fuel – the largest single cut from a retailer we’ve ever seen.
“The price of oil has fallen so far – down to an 18-year low – that it was inevitable that pump prices would eventually follow suit.
“These savings will directly benefit those people who continue to rely on their vehicles for essential journeys.
“It is vital, however, that drivers heed government advice and only travel if it absolutely needed.
“Drivers can expect to see petrol sold at supermarket forecourts for around 104p per litre as a result of these cuts, a price last seen nearly four years ago. Diesel should drop to around 111p per litre, and it was last sold at this sort of price in July 2017."
Luke Bosdet, fuel price spokesman at the AA, added: “Such a huge cut in pump prices is very welcome. It is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy outlook.
“The key benefit of the slashed prices is in reducing costs for deliveries as online and other firms work hard to keep goods moving and consumers supplied.
“However, we urge drivers to think carefully before making unnecessary road trips that may put them in proximity of other people.”
‘Provide additional support to NHS workers’
Asda said the price cut was made to provide additional support to essential workers, such as NHS staff and key workers who are still required to make essential travel journeys to and from work.
Dave Tyrer, senior fuel buyer at Asda, added: “We want to do all we can to support the nation during this time.”
Ashley Myers, head of fuel for Morrisons, said: “We are playing our full part in reducing the cost of living and feeding the nation.
“This reduction in fuel prices will help motorists save money at this difficult time.”
The Fleet News Regional Fuel Prices tool reports that, on March 23, London SW and Tonbridge were the most expensive areas to fill up with diesel costing 128.9p per litre. Tonbridge is also the most expensive for unleaded petrol at 125.9ppl.
The cheapest area for both diesel and unleaded is Bath with prices at 112.7ppl and 110.7ppl respectively.
At the beginning of the month, HMRC introduced its new advisory fuel rates, which remain in place until June 30.
These saw the reimbursement rate for a diesel car with an engine size of more than 2,000cc decrease by 1p per mile (ppm), from 14ppm to 13ppm.
There was also a 1ppm reduction for the reimbursement rate or a petrol company car with an engine size of more than 2,000cc.
It is reduced from 21ppm to 20ppm, while the remaining petrol remain unchanged.