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Oh, what a lovely war!

Great news for motorists as two of the major supermarkets have finally reacted to recent criticisms and dropped their fuel prices on the forecourts. Motoring organisations had slammed the retailers for not passing on recent drops in the wholesale price of fuel. Over the last month or so, the wholesale price had dropped by an average of 6p per litre but prices at the pumps remained stubbornly fixed.

Great news for motorists as two of the major supermarkets have finally reacted to recent criticisms and dropped their fuel prices on the forecourts. Motoring organisations had slammed the retailers for not passing on recent drops in the wholesale price of fuel. Over the last month or so, the wholesale price had dropped by an average of 6p per litre but prices at the pumps remained stubbornly fixed. Now though, two major supermarkets have declared a price war with cuts of up to 6p per litre.

Sainsbury's were the first to move, announcing cuts that would see their customers paying no more than 129.9p per litre for unleaded. This was followed hours later by Asda's announcement that they would cap unleaded prices at 128.7p per litre. Sainsbury's head of fuels, Richard Crampton, commented on the company's decision to slash their fuel prices: "Fuel is a big part of the weekly budget for many households so we hope this cut will be welcomed by drivers across Britain."

Both supermarkets will introduce the cuts before the end of September and will result in the lowest fuel prices so far in 2013. The cuts also create a more level price structure across the UK, as Asda petrol trading director, Andy Peake, confirmed: "Our prices are the lowest they have been all year and our national price cap on fuel benefits everyone across the country, meaning that no one filling up at Asda is forced to pay a premium for their fuel because of where they live."

Diesel will also come down and will cost 135.7p and 136.9p at Asda and Sainsbury's respectively. The news comes after a period of political turmoil in the Middle East that had threatened to see fuel prices rocket. The civil war in Syria had led to rises in wholesale prices but with military intervention by the UK and US now unlikely, the fuel market has settled down and prices have dropped. Prices have fallen from a high of 52p per litre for unleaded during the crisis to 45p in mid September.

The national price cap will also counter criticism of a 'postcode lottery' in fuel pricing, where the cost has seemed to depend more on the presence of local competition, rather than the actual wholesale price. The move has also been welcomed by the AA, whose spokesman commented: "It should turn what has been, up to now, a phoney fuel price war into one that means something to hard-pressed drivers." The price drops at Sainsbury's and Asda will almost certainly lead to the other major supermarket chains joining the price war.

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