THE company behind a petrol station in Herefordshire has spoken out about how it is not to blame for the rising cost of fuel.

Kington Service Station is part of the Ascona Group, a company that says independents cannot compete with supermarkets over current petrol prices.

Leader of the management team at Ascona Darren Briggs said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means that the UK is seeing unprecedented rises in prices for crude oil and fuel in the west.

Russia is the second biggest oil producer in the world and the third biggest producer in terms of refined products.


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Almost 20 per cent of the UK’s diesel is imported from Russia, said Mr Briggs, with the group also owning Crossgates Service Station on the A44 between Kington and Rhayader.

“Unfortunately for an independent business like Ascona, the supermarkets have an unfair commercial advantage,” he said.

The fuel supermarkets sell today is based on the cost price three weeks ago, so when the cost prices skyrocket the supermarkets are still buying fuel at a substantially lower price than independent fuel retailers, he said.

“When prices are volatile and increasing on a daily basis, having fuel delivered from your supplying oil company based on a previous day market on close price means that it is extremely difficult to remain competitive.”


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Fuel volumes are still around 90 per cent of pre-Covid levels and fuel margins remain between five and nice pence per litre depending on price sensitivity of the local area, since Covid, said Mr Briggs.

“However, the fuel margins in the coming weeks will inevitably reduce as we try and remain as competitive as possible within the UK retail fuel market.

“There will be significant price differences in pole sign prices.

“The UK, in fact, probably has cheapest petrol and diesel in Europe when you deduct motor fuel duty and VAT,” said Mr Briggs.

Drivers are also being warned that prices will carry on rising.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “With the tragedy in Ukraine showing no signs of abating, it looks like we all need to brace for forecourt prices to continue upward, not least because they tend to lag oil price movements by a week or two."