Petrol companies are profiting double the amount than they were in 2019 and triple the amount they were before the first Covid lockdown, research suggests.

Between 2016 and 2019, the difference between the average wholesale and pump price of fuel in the UK was between 10p and 12p per litre, says FairFuelUK – a campaign group for fairer fuel prices.

That post-Covid profit margin had risen to between 18p and 21p per litre, and as of this week it stands at 35p per litre nationally.

That means that petrol retailers are now making around £20 more profit per an average family car than they were before the pandemic.

The cheapest petrol price currently in Bolton, according to the latest data compiled by comparison website PetrolPrices, is 179.9p per litre.

Being that FairFuelUK says that the average UK wholesale price was 152.27p per litre as of July 20, petrol retailers in the town are making at least an average of 27.63p per litre.

Where diesel is concerned, the average profit is 28.92p per litre. The average UK wholesale price is at 160.78p per litre, and the cheapest price pump price to be found in Bolton is 189.7p per litre, according to those same data sources.

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Paul Bohanna is director at J O Transport, a haulage company based in Little Lever.

He said: “It just makes you feel like you’re being ripped off. The price of crude oil is going down, but the price of diesel isn’t. How can that be right?

“We had to introduce a surcharge to our customers in March. We stood it for a bit but there’s only so long you can stand it for.”

Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, says that garage forecourts should not be charging more than £1.65 per litre for petrol, and £1.75 per litre for diesel.

He added: “As oil prices have rocketed since 2020, the fuel supply chain has exploited drivers by doubling their profits through record pump pricing.

"They are directly responsible for making the cost-of-living crisis even worse.

“I call on the government, once and for all, to punish the opportunistic profiteering in the fuel supply chain. This simply can’t go on.

“The new Prime Minister must make this a priority, in order to reduce inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.”