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31st March 2011

One pence reduction in fuel duty hasn’t fully filtered through to motorists in Northern Ireland

Consumer Council monitoring of local fuel prices just before and after the Budget (23 March) show that the reduction in fuel duty by one pence has not fully filtered through to the price motorists pay at the pumps. In the week after the Budget, figures show that the average price across NI for unleaded fell by 0.75 pence per litre (ppl) and for diesel 0.5ppl.

Commenting, Aodhan O’Donnell of the Consumer Council said:  “Since 2007 fuel duty has increased by over 8.5 pence per litre and although reducing the fuel duty by one penny was never going to have a great impact on the cost of filling up, it is a step in the right direction.  It is disappointing therefore to see that consumers haven’t felt the full benefit of this reduction.  Consumer Council figures show that it currently costs £66.55 to fill a car with petrol and £69.80 for diesel - that’s an increase of £7.31 for petrol and £10.27 for diesel from this time last year on one fill alone.  This could mean that across the year a family filling their car twice a month pays £175 more for petrol and £246 pounds for diesel.”

Consumer Council monitoring of petrol and diesel retailers shows that the supermarkets are close to passing on the full saving, but that independent retailers fall some way short of this[1].  Aodhan O’Donnell said:  “Whilst the large supermarkets in NI are passing on almost the full one pence reduction, the Consumer Council calls on the independent retailers to help motorists by passing on the full one penny saving.” 

The Consumer Council also remains concerned about the policy of some supermarkets who charge different prices across NI.

Continuing, Aodhan O’Donnell said:  “Consumers should pay the same price for their petrol and diesel no matter which supermarket they choose to fill up at.  Our figures[2] show that this week (28 March) consumers can pay a difference of 5p for a litre of petrol and 7p for a litre of diesel depending on which supermarket they use.  This can mean paying £2.50 more to fill your car with petrol and £3.50 more for diesel.  Asda remains the only supermarket to charge the same price for fuel at all their stores, with Tesco and Sainsbury's continuing to apply a local pricing policy.  The Consumer Council urges the large supermarkets to offer their best price for petrol and diesel to all customers regardless of where they are buying their fuel.”

The Consumer Council monitors fuel prices on a weekly basis.  We encourage consumers to check out our online survey at to see the cheapest, dearest and average price of fuel in their area, so they can shop around for the best deals.


Notes to Editors

Unleaded 21-Mar-1128-Mar-11Diff pence
Average Supermarket 132.44131.39-1.05
Average Independent 134.89134.52-0.37
Overall Average 133.83133.11-0.72
Diesel 21-Mar-1128-Mar-11Diff pence
Average Supermarket 138.61137.68-0.93
Average Independent 141.10140.87-0.23
Overall Average 140.09139.60-0.49


1. Consumer Council media contact: Irene Overend, telephone, 028 9067 4816 or e-mail

2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.

3. For more information, visit our website at

[1] See ‘Notes to Editors’

[2]The Consumer Council continues to undertake a weekly ‘price watch’ of petrol and diesel prices at a sample of 77 sites across Northern Ireland.  The sites have been selected to provide a geographic spread, represent the market share and provide a mix of supermarket and independent retailers