BATTLE lines have been drawn across Gloucester's forecourts as supermarkets wage war in the fight for every penny at the petrol pumps.
From wasteland to a supermarket gold mine, the transformation of the Railway Triangle Morrisons marks the completion of the latest step in Gloucester's regeneration.
And with Morrisons offering the cheapest fuel in the city, motorists can expect fuel prices to plummet as rivals battle to keep pace.
Last night, the new store was leading the way with its price of 126.9p for a litre of unleaded, the city's cheapest, ready for opening today.
Its diesel was also the lowest, priced at 133.9p. It has since been matched by BP and Sainsbury's in Barnwood.
Tesco was priced at a penny dearer.
Last night, the Gloucester Citizen went behind the scenes for a sneak peek at the new 46,500 sq ft superstore, which opens to the public today.
Mark Owen, from the Federation of Small Businesses in Gloucester, said: "The new store will go head-to-head in competition with the other large supermarkets in the area including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda – not to mention Morrisons' own store at Abbeydale – but we expect one of the main battlegrounds to be on the forecourt.
"We anticipate a price cutting war at the petrol and diesel pumps which is good news for the consumer but not so good for the independent garages who will be unlikely to compete on price."
The highest price of diesel fuel in Gloucester is 138.9p a litre, the average is 136.3p. For unleaded, the average cost is 129.1p a litre, with the most expensive fuel in the city priced at 131.9p.
A spokesman for Tesco said: "We work hard to ensure we offer a competitive fuel price wherever we operate by constantly monitoring prices in the immediate area around each individual petrol filling station. This is typically up to three driven miles from the forecourt."
A Morrisons spokeswoman said: "Our fuel prices are monitored to make sure they are both affordable and competitive. We work hard to ensure that our prices for petrol and diesel are in line with other distributors in the area."
Of the 291 new staff employed at the Triangle site, 163 – 56 per cent – were previously unemployed. Much of the workforce has been recruited locally.
The store opening will be played in with music from the Gloucester Salvation Army Band. The shop features a continental-style deli counter, 140 cuts of meat in the butchery and more than 80 cheeses.
Store general manager Mark Watkinson said: "The team has worked hard to train as specialists in wine, butchery and the bakery."
PETROL PRICES:Morrisons Gloucester, Triangle Park: Unleaded 126.9p Diesel 133.9pBP Connect, Barnwood Road: Unleaded 126.9p Diesel 133.9pSainsbury’s Barnwood: Unleaded 126.9p Diesel 133.9pTesco Gloucester, St Oswald’s Road: Unleaded 127.9p Diesel 134.9pJet London Road service station: Diesel 135.9p