Has The Tide Turned On Unfair Fuel Prices?

Sat 3rd Jun 2023

Petrol and diesel prices are finally falling following a damning report into an industry which for years has put profits before fair prices.

Earlier this month, the Competition and Markets Authority issued an update regarding its inquiry into the prices of petrol and diesel. The report revealed that the majority of the increases in fuel costs were attributed to the Russian incursion into Ukraine.

Nevertheless, it criticised prominent retailers for failing to transfer any cost reductions to the drivers, who had been experiencing the burden of escalating fuel prices for several months.

The study has revealed that the elevated prices that motorists are currently encountering at fuel stations are indicative of a certain degree of diminished competition within the market for retailing road fuels.

“Although much of the pressure on pump prices is down to global factors including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we have found evidence that suggests weakening retail competition is contributing to higher prices for drivers at the pumps. We are also concerned about the sustained higher margins on diesel compared with petrol we have seen this year,” said Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA.

According to the CMA, the mean petrol prices at supermarkets in 2022 were approximately 5 pence per litre higher than they would have been if the supermarkets had sustained their average profit margins at the 2019 levels.

While supermarkets remain the most cost-effective vendors of fuel, it has come to the CMA’s attention that a certain unnamed supermarket has raised its margin targets considerably. This has been substantiated by internal documents, and competitors have reportedly taken notice of this shift in strategy and emulated it.

With news that fuel prices are finally falling, Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK told the Daily Express that he was happy that consumers were finally feeling some relief.

“It’s unmistakable for everyone and every business that drives, crippling high pump prices have been dishonestly manipulated for decades and even more so, using lockdown and the Ukraine conflict as the smokescreen to rip off motorists,” Cox said.

“But it seems the CMA have at last received the message that chronic fuel supply chain profiteering has indeed been rife.

“I am delighted, that for once and even though it has taken so long to sink in, they are now showing some real teeth and demanding answers in future formal interviews with fuel supply chain bosses.”