The gap between fuel prices in the Scarborough area compared with places such as York has leaped to as much as 10p per litre.
Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, a national campaign fighting for lower petrol and diesel prices, claims supermarkets are “exploiting” their buying power.
Drivers in Scarborough have been asking why the town’s drivers should be made to pay much more than those just 40 miles away. The difference used to be a few pence but is now much bigger.
Sainsbury’s offers unleaded and diesel at its Falsgrave Road store for 118.9p a litre, the second cheapest in Scarborough.
The supermarket giant also boasts the next best price in York, however the fuel price drops a huge 9p below its Scarborough price with some drivers in the town claiming to have seen an astonishing 10p difference recently.
Mr Cox said: “It is disgusting that a major supermarket who prices a pint of milk at the same level across the country, exploits drivers with a shocking 9p per litre difference at their pumps just 40 miles apart.
“There is no rationale or good reason that such a huge difference from the same supplier can be justified. This is true profiteering on an industrial scale and the Government must investigate.”
The cheapest fuel in Scarborough was at Morrison’s in Seamer with drivers coughing up 117.9p a litre for fuel. This figure is more than 4p above the cost of unleaded and diesel in both York and Leeds.
The cost of fuel in Scarborough is burning a hole in drivers’ back pockets with the questions asked as to why the town’s drivers should be made to pay more than those just 40 miles away?
Dial A Ride is a charity providing fully accessible, door to door transport for those who are either retired, have some form of disability or who have difficulty using other forms of transport in Scarborough.
Tim Lawson, deputy manager, told The Scarborough News that the non profit organisation could have saved £900 across the past six months had fuel prices been 9p cheaper.
He said: “We spend a lot on fuel on a weekly basis, between 1,500 and 2,000 litres a month. I know the price at Sainsbury’s in York hasn’t been that in Scarborough since around June time. We could really do with that York price in Scarborough, it is a significant difference.
“We have paid for 10,000 litres of diesel in the past six months covering 54,000 miles. We could have saved £900 if we had access to the York prices.
“That is a lot of money that could then go into maintenance of the vehicles or insurance for example. That could make a huge difference for us.”
UK petrol prices hit a six-month high last month as drivers in small rural towns have been left reeling by a price storm that has added 4p to a litre and more than £2 to a tank of petrol, according to the latest AA Fuel Price Report.
Falling wholesale costs mean that pump prices should be heading down, but many retailers are still maxing out on a 4p-a-litre wholesale leap that lasted just two days.
Mr Cox said: “They [supermarkets] do not have to purchase from wholesalers, that ordinary independent fuel retailers must do to buy bulk fuel. Therefore, they can use their huge windfall margins to encourage extra footfall in their stores with much lower prices at the pumps.
“But FairFuelUK supporters are telling us that Tesco and Sainsbury's do not price fuel fairly across their stores, even in locations close to each other.
“We are seeing higher prices in many seaside resorts that are less common in urban or suburban sites.”
It’s not just supermarkets that have a telling comparison between garages in York and Scarborough. Jet was priced up to 3p more expensive while the town’s BP garage was 2p more than in York, leaving Scarborough drivers frustrated.
Matthew Law said: “I drive all over the UK for work and find the cheapest fuel is in the large cities or large supermarkets. Small towns like Scarborough or stations that are more remote have a higher price.”
Mark Robertson said: “I work in Northumberland on a weekly basis and always fill up in Teesside on the way up or down. It can be 10p a litre cheaper, even at Sainsbury’s which surely proves Scarborough motorists are being ripped off! I’ve been avoiding Scarborough garages for the last 10 years.”
Derek Baker said: “Disgusted that Scarborough’s two fuel supplying supermarkets treat their customers so badly. When they charge 5p+ more per litre than York prices.”
After The Scarborough News asked for the exact reasoning for the contrast in pricing at its fuel pumps, a Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We price locally and our aim is to be competitive for all motorists across the country.”