Office for Fair Trading investigates petrol prices after 'widespread concern'

The OFT has issued a call for information into petrol and diesel prices Credit: Danny Lawson
The OFT has issued a call for information into petrol and diesel prices Credit: Danny Lawson Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today issued a call for information on the UK petrol and diesel sector.

UK Petrol prices rose by 38 percent between June 2007 and June 2012, and diesel prices by 43 percent over the same period.

In light of continuing public concern about pump prices, the OFT says that it "wants to identify whether or not there are competition problems that it can tackle" in the industry, and has invited the industry, motoring groups and consumer bodies to submit information.

The OFT will investigate the following claims:

  • Whether reductions in the price of crude oil are being reflected in falling pump prices
  • Whether supermarkets' and major oil companies' practices may be making it more difficult for independent retailers to compete with them
  • Whether concerns about price co-ordination and the structure of road fuels markets identified by other national competition authorities are relevant in the UK
  • Whether there is a lack of competition between fuel retailers in some remote communities in the UK

"We are keenly aware of continuing widespread concern about the pump price of petrol and diesel and we have heard a number of different claims about how the market is operating." said the OFT in a statement.

"We have therefore decided to take a broad based look at this sector, to provide an opportunity for people to share their concerns and evidence with us.

"This will help us determine whether claims about competition problems are well-founded and whether any further action is warranted."

The OFT plans to publish its findings in January 2013.