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PUMP PRICE: Competition and Markets Authority continues road fuel investigation

Senior supermarket bosses are to be interviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as it continues its investigation into road fuel prices.

The CMA is particularly concerned about the rising margin between the cost to retailers of providing petrol and diesel, and the price at which they are selling it at.

It says: “Evidence gathered by the CMA indicates that fuel margins have increased across the retail market, but in particular for supermarkets, over the past 4 years.”

The CMA goes on: “Although supermarkets still tend to be the cheapest retail suppliers of fuel, evidence from internal documents indicates that at least one supermarket has significantly increased its internal forward-looking margin targets over this period.”

There is also concern about the lack of cooperation from supermarkets:

“Whilst the level of engagement with the study has varied across supermarkets, we are not satisfied that they have all been sufficiently forthcoming with the evidence they have provided. In particular, important information has only been received late in the day and after several rounds of information gathering.”

The CMA will publish its final report by 7 July this year.

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: “With the cost-of-living crisis continuing drivers are acutely aware of prices at the pumps and would welcome some reassurance that what they are being charged is fair, with retailers making no more than a reasonable margin.

“The CMA is right to highlight and probe the rationale for the price differential at the pumps between petrol and diesel.

“The wholesale prices of both fuels have been very similar for several months – in fact diesel is now cheaper to buy at the refinery gate than petrol – but the price premium on the forecourt, though down from last year’s high of 25p per litre, still seems stuck at around 10p per litre. The big question is ‘why?’”


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