Page last updated at 21:00 GMT, Saturday, 12 December 2009

Supermarkets launch pre-Christmas petrol price war

Asda petrol forecourt
Petrol has recently been priced on average at 108.99 pence per litre

Two of Britain's supermarkets have sparked a petrol price war as they cut the cost of fuel.

Asda and Tesco have both dropped the price of their unleaded and diesel by up to three pence a litre, saying they are passing on a cut in oil prices.

But the AA said the supermarkets were a "bit slow" in bringing the prices down and that they could have done it weeks ago rather than just before Christmas.

And the AA warned January's VAT rise would put the price back up.

'Competitively priced'

Asda said drivers filling up at its 179 forecourts across the UK would pay no more than 103.9p per litre for unleaded and 105.9p for a litre of diesel.

Recently, average UK pump prices were standing at 108.99p for petrol and 110.26p for diesel.

David Miles, Asda's commercial director, said: "With Christmas just around the corner, it's a time when cash is tight and we want to help our customers make it go further."

A Tesco spokeswoman said their price cuts would help millions of customers travelling over the festive period and that it was committed to being "competitively priced on petrol".

Meanwhile a Sainsbury's spokeswoman said: "We price on a local level and in any local level we would aim to remain competitive."

But Paul Watters from the AA said supermarkets had been holding out for as "long as they could before someone started pointing the finger at them".

"The supermarkets have done this in the past. They will lead the market and hopefully we will now see the premium brands follow suit."

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