Tesco is on the defensive over petrol prices after it emerged that the retail giant charges more for fuel in areas where it has no competition from supermarket rivals.

Tesco charges up to 3p a litre more for petrol – and 6p a litre for diesel – in areas where it is unopposed, according to research carried out for The Times.

Rivals told the paper the news underlined the need for the introduction of the controversial ‘competition test’, which was finally given the green light by the Competition Commission last month despite fierce opposition from Tesco.

Responding to the findings, Tesco said: “There is no evidence from the Competition Commission or anyone else to suggest that such a test would benefit consumers in the form of lower petrol prices. We have a national price list for groceries but, like most of the industry, we price petrol in a way which offers customers the best value locally.”

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