The price of petrol has dropped as low as 97.9p a litre after the UK’s leading retailers announced another round of price cuts – but not all north and north-east communities are benefiting.
Morrisons yesterday cut 2p off a litre of petrol and diesel – reducing the cost to 97.9p and 109.9p respectively.
Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, with energy giants Total, BP and Shell, all followed suit with similar cuts.
The moves follow mounting pressure on retailers and suppliers to cut prices after oil fell to less than half its $147-a-barrel high in July.
However, petrol still cost up to £1.20 a litre in some parts of the Highlands yesterday.
Asda will have the same prices as Morrisons for its fuel from this morning at every one of its 172 forecourts.
Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, also cut the price on all grades of fuel by 2p at the “majority” of its 430 forecourts, where petrol will be down to 97.9p.
A spokesman added that a national petrol promotion, starting today, allows motorists a further 5p off per litre, and those with a Tesco Clubcard can now fill up for less than 92p a litre.
But despite the cuts, the cost of petrol remained much higher than 97.9p at some Tesco forecourts, including Inverness retail park, where it was 99.9p.
A Tesco spokesman said it had a local pricing policy and that stores only strive to be competitive in their areas.
Total and BP announced a number of their outlets would be selling petrol at 97.9p and diesel at 109.9p.
A spokeswoman for Shell said its petrol had dropped more than 18p a litre and diesel almost 20p since July, with yesterday’s reductions bringing petrol to 97.9p across much of the company’s network.
Sainsbury’s later announced price cuts in line with the other big chain, effective from this morning.
Other petrol stations had varying prices yesterday.
Christine Lyle, owner of the Almondbank Filling Station in Perth’s Crieff Road, said petrol was 99.9p until a tanker arrived yesterday afternoon.
Prices have now been reduced to 97.9p at the filling station, which sells Conoco Phillips fuel through the Jet brand.
In Inverness, prices ranged from £1 a litre at the Highlander Filling Station in Millburn Road, to 104.9p at Pace Petroleum on Harbour Road. Across the Highlands, petrol was 103.9p at Somerfield in Nairn, 104.9p at the Atholl Service Station on Skye and 121.9p at the Campbell Service Station at Stornoway.
AA president Edmund King welcomed the major retailers’ fuel price reductions, which are predicted to continue in the coming months.
“This latest petrol price battle between the supermarkets not only boosts driver and consumer spending, it comes at exactly the right time to boost the economy and fight inflation,” he said.
“With Opec considering a cut in production to stabilise oil prices, drivers and consumers should bear in mind that today’s free-falling prices shouldn’t be taken for granted – eventually they will take off again once the world economy gets back on its feet.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown was urged last night to back up his call to oil firms to reduce fuel prices at the pumps by agreeing to a special tax concession for the islands.
Orkney and Shetland MP Alastair Carmichael wrote to Mr Brown drawing attention to Treasury Minister Angela Eagle’s promise to investigate if a fuel tax cut on the islands would be possible.
Mr Carmichael said last night he was pleased that the prime minister had acknowledged the struggle faced by many families. He called for the concession to reduce the 15-20p surcharge faced by islanders when buying petrol.