Buxton is a victim of “small rural town discrimination” and is unlikely to see the same petrol price cuts enjoyed in other parts of the UK, an industry expert has warned.
As parts of the country celebrate petrol prices falling below £1 per litre for the first time in five years, the AA has warned residents that this is unlikely to be the case in Buxton and the High Peak.
Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA, blamed it on a lack of competition – meaning existing retailers are not pressured into passing on savings to customers.
He said: “This is typical small rural town discrimination, where not having the right mix of retailers means existing ones can keep prices higher than they should be.
“We are dealing with a postcode lottery policy, which is the scourge of all UK rural drivers.
“This is even more unfair because, generally speaking, rural drivers rely on their vehicles more and drive more miles. This means rural families’ budgets are hit further still.”
The more than 50 per cent drop in oil price over the past seven months has led to many retailers slashing the price of petrol at the pumps.
But while consumers enjoy fuel below £1 per litre in Birmingham and other parts of the UK – Buxton residents are still paying £1.07.9 at the town’s Morrisons petrol station.
Luke said: “Prices are coming down the most in places that have strong competition – especially from Asda, which charges £1.03 per litre nationally – but in areas without this competition, price falls are not being fully passed down to consumers.
“And the biggest price cuts are coming from independent retailers, not the supermarkets – who really should know better.”
When asked if he thought the High Peak was likely to see petrol below £1 per litre in the near future, Luke said: “I think we would be extremely lucky to see petrol prices drop below £1 per litre in Buxton in the next month or so.
“The barrel price would have to be below £40 anyway. But even if it was, without competition, the consumer would be unlikely to feel the full benefit of the fall in price.
Luke added: “Supermarkets lost five per cent of their share of the market in the final quarter of last year.
“And if supermarket bosses are looking for reasons why consumers are choosing to buy their petrol from independent retailers – they don’t have to look any further than towns like Buxton.”