Three of the UK's "big four" supermarket chains have cut petrol prices at their filling stations to below £1 a litre - the lowest price seen in more than four years.
Morrisons announced on Monday, May 11 that it would bring the price of unleaded to a maximum of 99.7p per litre at all of its UK forecourts. Since then, Tesco and Asda have followed suit, with Asda matching Morrison's price and Tesco cutting unleaded to 99.9p per litre.
All three have lowered the price of diesel, with Asda and Morrisons capping it 104.7p per litre and Tesco dropping it to 105.9p.
The move affects more than 1,200 filling stations and brings petrol to the lowest price since February 2016, marking the only time since the financial crisis of 2008/09 that it has been this cheap.
Across the UK, the average price per litre is 108.74p per litre for petrol and 114.26ppl for diesel, according to RAC Fuel Watch.
Not just for key workers
Some reports have suggested that the cuts are only for NHS staff and other key workers but Morrisons has confirmed that the move applies to all customers, while emphasising that the reductions will help those having to use their cars to get to and from work or for other essential trips.
Ashley Myers, head of fuel for Morrisons, said: "This cut will help people who are travelling to work, those shopping for essentials, and those assisting the elderly and vulnerable. We want to play our full part in reducing the cost of living and feeding the nation at this difficult time."
Morrisons is the first to announce petrol prices below £1 per litre but where one supermarket chain leads, the others - Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda - tend to follow, prompting hope of wider reductions.
Fuel prices have fallen during the coronavirus crisis as wholesale oil prices have plummeted but some campaigners have accused fuel retailers of failing to share the savings with customers.
Cuts may not last
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the move was welcome relief to drivers but warned that the drop in prices might not last.
He said: “Although the lockdown is far from over, Sunday’s speech from the prime minister was a signal to drivers that they can begin to make more trips by car again – so credit is due to Morrisons for taking the lead and selling petrol and diesel at what is a very fair price and one that is much more reflective of what the retailer is itself paying to buy the fuel in.
“Unfortunately though there is a darker side to any large price cuts – they heap yet more pressure on smaller independent fuel retailers, who in some cases are already fighting for survival as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
“It remains to be seen how long prices this low will persist for, with some early indications that wholesale petrol prices have started to rise as a result of the world oil price creeping up.”