Petrol prices inquiry launched

The Office for Fair Trading has opened an investigation into petrol and diesel prices. It has issued a "call for information" as it looks to see whether reductions in the cost of crude oil are being passed on to motorists.

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David Cameron's spokesman says OFT needs to investigate fuel prices

Commenting of the Office of Fair Trading's announcement that it is to conduct an investigation into UK fuel prices, David Cameron's official spokesman said:

Clearly, the OFT is independent and this is a matter for them.

But if they think that there are problems in the way these markets are functioning and that is having an adverse effect on consumers, then they need to investigate.

– Spokesman for David Cameron

Motoring charity encourages scrutiny of petrol prices

An independent motoring research charity has welcomed the news that the Office of Fair Trading will be gathering information on the price of petrol and diesel in the UK.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said:

We have always argued for pricing transparency and this review promises to provide it.

There has long been a suspicion amongst drivers that pump prices are much quicker to rise than fall. Now at last we should get a definitive answer on how the market works.

We also welcome scrutiny of what the rapid decline in the number of petrol stations has meant for fuel supply and price. In 1990 there were some 18,000 forecourts. Now there are fewer than 9,000.

– Professor Stephen Glaister, RAC Foundation

Fuel campaign group welcome news of price investigation

A campaign fighting for lower petrol and diesel prices has welcomed the news that the Office of Fair Trading will be gathering information on the pricing of petrol and diesel in the UK.

Quentin Willson of FairFuelUK said:

FairFuelUK has been calling for this investigation into the road fuel market for months.

Anything that brings transparency and openness to a £32 billion market that's always been shrouded in mystery, will be good for consumers, businesses and the UK economy.

We want full disclosure to make sure pump prices in this country are fair, reasonable and, most importantly, go down quickly when the price of crude falls.

– Quentin Willson, FairFuelUK

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Treasury minister welcomes petrol prices inquiry

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, whose constituents in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey suffer from high petrol prices because of their remoteness has welcomed the Office for Fair Trading has opened an investigation into petrol and diesel prices:

List of claims that the OFT will investigate

The Office for Fair Trading will investigate a number of claims about how the road fuels sector in the UK is functioning, including:

  • 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

Petrol prices to be investigated after 'widespread concern'

The OFT has issued a call for information into petrol and diesel prices Credit: 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.

"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.

"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.

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