MOTORISTS in Aberystwyth are paying the highest price to fill up their fuel tanks in Wales – with the cost of a litre of unleaded 12p cheaper in Cardigan.

The cost of a litre of unleaded in Aberystwyth is currently 147.9p a litre at the Morrisons filling station in Aberystwyth – with motorists 35 miles away in Cardigan paying just 135.9p a litre.

There is a six pence discrepancy when it comes to diesel costs with a litre in Morrisons Aberystwyth costing you 148.9p but in Cardigan’s Tesco filling station, the cost is 142.9p

Morrisons themselves have a discrepancy in pricing with a litre of unleaded in Newtown’s Morrison’s filling station costing six pence less at 141.9p a litre.

So why are prices often higher?

According to the RAC, While delivery costs tend not to play too large a part in the overall pump price, excessive distances from fuel terminals can have a significant effect on prices in rural locations.

It is for this reason the Government has previously taken action to help some of the country’s most rural communities where the price of fuel is deemed to be negatively affecting residents.

In 2012 it introduced a 5p rural fuel duty discount in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, and the Isles of Scilly. In March 2015 this was extended to 10 rural mainland communities.

Calls have been made to extend this scheme into Powys, but Ceredigion was overlooked when the plan was reviewed.

Commenting on the high prices in Aberystwyth, Welsh Liberal Democrat MS for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds stated: “Consistently high prices in Ceredigion over the years continue to make the argument that Ceredigion should be included in the UK Government’s Rural Fuel Rebate system.

“This is something I know former MP Mark Williams campaigned on for many years, however the Government have still does not included Ceredigion in the scheme.

“In areas such as Ceredigion, people rely on cars to get around and get on with their lives much more than urban areas, especially due to poor public transport links, meaning it is vital we do more. It is clear that we need a fuel rebate here in Ceredigion.

“A rural fuel rebate would give a 5p cut in the fuel duty paid by drivers in rural areas, which would be a huge help with the cost of living.”

Cambrian News asked Morrison’s why its fuel was more expensive in Aberystwyth than in its other filling station across Wales.

The store said: “In the UK petrol prices vary from town to town and even neighbourhood to neighbourhood and we will always strive to be competitive in each local area.

“Occasionally this can mean price differences between different areas open up. We continually review our prices and will look to reduce this difference as soon as we can.”

Ben Lake, the MP for Ceredigion, said that he has been pushing parliament for the reconfiguration of the Rural Fuel Duty Relief scheme

He said: “The rising cost of energy has been well documented in recent weeks, but just as devastating for people in Ceredigion is the rising cost of fuel. Private cars continue to account for the overwhelming majority of journeys in Wales, and according to statistics from the UK Government, a much higher proportion of people – 80 per cent in fact - travel to work by car in Wales than other nations of the UK.

“While we must invest in our public transport infrastructure so that fewer people are dependent on cars for such essential transport, at present our bus network is struggling, and does not offer everyone an alternative for their commute.

“In the long term we must ensure that this can change, but in the immediate future car use remains a necessity for many people in Ceredigion, for otherwise they would be unable to travel to their workplace.”

He said the UK Government’s Rural Fuel Duty Relief Scheme should be extended to areas such as Ceredigion, by amending its parameters so that they include an assessment of local transport services.

“This would ensure that for rural areas without an extensive public transport network, the Relief Scheme would help soften the blow of rising fuel prices,” he said.”

Fairfuel UK is a campaign set up to bring fairer fuel pricing for motorists.

When asked about the current high price of fuel in Aberystwyth, Howard Cox, founder of FairFuel UK said: “Fundamentally the Fuel Supply Chain opportunistically takes advantage of drivers at will.

“When oil prices rise and fall, millions of drivers have absolutely no idea what subsequently, they will pay at the pumps each time they fill up their vehicles. It is never ever the same price!

“There is no consistency, logic or clarity to the way pump prices are calculated. It remains a closely guarded secret in the fuel supply chain.

“We are calling on the Government to create an Independent Pricing Watchdog called PumpWatch. If gas, electricity, water and telecoms get price protection bodies, why shouldn’t motorists have one too?

“We need ‘PumpWatch’ now, to ensure pricing fairness for both consumers and hardworking fuel retailers too. Most of the profiteering is at wholesale level not by small independent retailers, who are victims of the greedy fuel supply chain.

“If prices at the pumps were honest and transparent and open to scrutiny, inflation could fall by as much as one per cent. Pump prices should be 10p lower per litre if the actual wholesale price falls had been passed on honestly.

“High pump prices increase inflation, slow GDP growth, reduce business investment, cost jobs, and reduce disposable income and consumer spending. They hit low-income drivers the most. Those that need their vehicles the most.

“High fuel prices are not saving the planet, they are crippling the economy, small businesses and low-income families.”

Last month, the RAC accused petrol retailers of ripping off motorists by refusing to pass on wholesale price cuts.

Simon Williams from the RAC said unleaded petrol fell by 2p a litre but should have come down by 12p.

It estimated drivers were overcharged by £5 million a day in December as retailers made an average of 16p a litre on petrol instead of the normal 6p.

The Petrol Retailers Association objected, saying drivers were likely to have benefited more than that.

Mr Williams said: “December was a rotten month for drivers as they were taken advantage of by retailers.”

But Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers Association, said: “December’s pump price data is less reliable because it is taken from fuel card transactions, and there have been far fewer of these transactions because of the reduction in business activity between Christmas and New Year.”

He said the retail fuel market remained “extremely competitive” adding: “The costs of running petrol stations rose all year, with electricity up 19 per cent, vastly reduced margins from fuel cards, increased national insurance and wage inflation.”

"There’s no reason why Newtown should be cheaper for fuel than Aberystwyth – it’s the same truck that fills both stations." - Mel Evans of mid Wales Travel

For Mel Evans, the managing director of Mid Wales Travel, every penny at the pump adds pounds to his fuel bills.

“Our coaches do around two miles to the litre so you can imagine the cost when you fill up a 450 litre tank,” he told Cambrian News.

“A rise in fuel costs affects everything and we have to pass the cost on to the passengers as we cant soak up the increase ourselves.

“We buy our fuel locally at a cost currently of £8,000 a month. But the private hire side of the business is non-existent at the moment due to Covid.

“We are miles away from any motorway here in Aberystwyth so we should be considered for a rural discount. The nearest motorway is Pont Abraham near Swansea.

“Any help would be welcome. Even a few pence to make the cost closer to that of other towns.

“There’s no reason why Newtown should be cheaper for fuel than Aberystwyth as more often than not, it’s the same truck that fills both stations.”

"Rising fuel costs, are never welcome, but they will never stop us doing what we do." - Mathew Leeman, Aberystwyth branch Blood Bikes Wales

For Blood Bikes Wales, staying on the road is a matter of life and death. And increased fuel prices are putting the pressure on the local organisers to keep driving to save lives.

Mathew Leeman, from the Aberystwyth branch of Blood Bikes Wales, said: “Yes, increased fuel charges have added significantly to our running costs – the cost of fuel accounts for over 50 per cent of our monthly expenditure and what with the Covid-effect in full swing again, our work load has increased to a level we have never seen before.

“We rely 100 per cent on donations from the public to keep our service running and without that, we could not offer that service.

There is no doubt, that the exposure the Cambrian News has given us over the past few years, has help immensely when it comes to informing the public about what we do and why we do it - so thank you again.