Asda announced it was cutting petrol prices by 2p on Wednesday. Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons then all quickly followed suit. Asda customers will pay no more than 133.7p a litre for their petrol from today - but which supermarket offers the best petrol prices?
The great supermarket price wars have spilled out into the forecourt and in this bare-knuckle fist-fight, you are the eventual winner... or so it would seem.
Remember spring this year? Ox-eye daisies blooming in the meadows, sun speckled parks, rolled up sleeves, ice-cream vans and bare legs. It was all very cheerful, save for the ridiculous petrol price of 145.5p a litre. Motorists were fuming all over the nation, hot under their collars and incredibly annoyed at the fuel price rise.
Asda led the price cuts in the last week of September by slashing prices by 3p. It would seem that it likes stirring things up a bit. Each time Asda announces a price cut its competitors are caught unawares and have to re-price their fuel.
Why supermarkets slash petrol prices
There's a reason why supermarkets want you to associate them with cheap fuel, of course.
If you fill up your car at their petrol forecourts, you're more likely to stock up on everything else at that supermarket. It also feeds into the much prized brand loyalty that customers develop for a particular store.
Where's the best bet for cheap petrol?
So which is the best supermarket for petrol prices? And how much more can they afford to cut back on fuel prices and still maintain a healthy profit for themselves?
I put these questions to the AA's head of public affairs, Paul Watters. He believes there is scope for more petrol price cuts - up to 4p, in fact. But he didn't lay the blame entirely at the door of the supermarkets for petrol price hikes, saying: “Even though supermarkets always plead poverty when it comes to profit margins, they really are quite thin. The blame for unjust petrol prices should really fall on speculators and wholesalers”.
Mr Watters confirmed that Asda usually tend to be ahead of the pack when it comes to price cuts. He also criticised independent retailers for often failing to keep up with supermarket petrol prices.
Now, this is all well and good. But what does it mean for you or for me? If you are a driver then you could be forgiven for being thoroughly confused about petrol prices and where the best place to fill up is. (Even if you don’t drive a car and shop at supermarkets, you will still be affected - as when fuel prices go up, food prices go up).
Whatever the reasons behind the current slide in petrol prices there are two points to remember:
Point 1. You are still being taken for a ride by over-inflated petrol prices.
Point 2. When in doubt, fill up at Asda as they are the first to cut prices!