Editor’s comment: Pray for price war

SO they’ve finally admitted it – petrol prices in Alnwick are dictated by competition.

Or, at least according to the Co-operative, that’s part of the story. They also claim that ‘effects of fluctuating exchange rates and wholesale oil prices’ also plays a part in what you pay at the pump.

But we don’t buy that. If they were significant factors, we would see far more uniformity across the country at any one given time, rather than the quite considerable disparity where a litre of fuel varies by as much as seven pence within a 20-mile radius.

We say that competition – or lack of it – is, and has always been, the significant driving force behind years of profiteering in Alnwick. It says a lot that even some village and A1 service stations are cheaper than our own, also ruling out the age-old excuse that distribution costs are to blame.

Perhaps the biggest shame of all is that Alnwick’s service station is now run by Co-operative, a company which prides itself on community values and social fairness.

But until we get a second forecourt dispensing unleaded and diesel – and perhaps LPG as well – there will be no incentive for them to bring their prices in line with other parts of the county. It will be interesting to see what happens when Northumberland Estates finally opens its own station at nearby Cawledge.

We know that many drivers, who are sick of having the cash squeezed out of them by this lucrative monopoly, will be praying for a price war.