Critical workers – including NHS staff – are swindled by oil companies, the AA said.
It calculates that the conductors are overloaded by more than a quarter per tank.
“Questions will be asked about the fairness of prices at the pump during the 2020 oil crash,” said the AA.
Brian Madderson, president of the Petrol Retailers Association, told the BBC that independent retailers “are struggling to survive.”
Oil prices have plummeted in recent days, leaving the wholesale price of gasoline hovering around 16p per liter, according to the AA.
But the average price at the pump for unleaded fuel remained around the £ 1.10 mark, only slightly higher this week.
While most of this price is made up of taxes, the average AA pump price should be around £ 1.
Each liter of gasoline sold includes the duty on fuel at 57.95p per liter – the retailer’s margin – plus VAT.
The AA estimates that gasoline sellers should be satisfied with a 9p per liter margin, which would make the average pump price of gasoline around £ 1 per liter when the wholesale price is 16p.
“Instead, the average price at the pump is higher because retailers say they have to charge 10p per liter more to make up for the low volumes of fuel they sell,” said the spokesman for AA on fuel, Luke Bosdet.
But Madderson argues that the current crisis is not a normal business environment.
“This is a unique business situation in which independent retailers have seen their volumes drop by up to 85%,” he said.
If independent garages took a small margin, many of them would go to the wall, he warned.
” A lot [independent garages] are the only option in rural areas, which means they are essential in helping to keep key workers on the road. “
He also pointed out that many sell gasoline they bought in early April when oil was more expensive.
Activists warn that high taxes, which cause high-priced gasoline, force drivers to pay more than they should.
“The immoral fuel supply chain robs drivers of over 20 million pounds a day,” said Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign.
“Our essential workers need fuel at an honest price, so they don’t face even more financial pressure to help us all. “
Conservative MP Robert Halfon said big oil companies should do their part to help: “They have to help the government lower the cost of living and pass the fall in international oil prices quickly to drivers.”
“When the coronavirus is finished, those who profit unnecessarily from it will face serious consequences. “
Gasoline prices are the cheapest in supermarkets where chains keep prices low to attract buyers to their stores.
Some supermarkets have sold gasoline for around £ 1 per liter in recent days, but independent garages cannot afford to take part in the price war.
“In theory, gasoline prices could fall below £ 1 per liter if the lower wholesale costs were reflected on the pumps, but at the same time people drive very few kilometers, so they sell quantities considerably lower gasoline and diesel so far, “said RAC spokesperson Simon Williams.
“We are concerned about the small courts that provide an essential service in areas where supermarkets have no anchor.
“It would be bad news in all respects if these convicts closed their doors permanently. “
Madderson said one thing the government could do to help
would be to extend the tariff relief scheme on fuel in rural areas
It gives 5p per liter to gasoline retailers in specified rural areas to support businesses in difficulty.
“If this were extended to more independent community garages, it would help them stay open and continue to supply key workers,” he added.