Major law changes to have massive impact on petrol and diesel drivers paying for fuel

Fuel pump

The new law changes were tabed today

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 15/11/2023

- 12:09

Updated: 17/11/2023

- 10:17

Drivers were overcharged by £900million last year

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be granted new powers to monitor the road fuel market after drivers were fleeced at the pumps.

Petrol and diesel prices have been a constant issue for drivers since the pandemic, with costs hitting record levels last summer and remaining high ever since.

New powers for the CMA will aim to protect motorists at the pumps and will shine a light on any attempt from retailers to unfairly hike prices.

Under changes to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, the CMA will become the body responsible for closely monitoring fuel prices.

WATCH NOW: Petrol and diesel drivers react to expensive fuel prices

The watchdog will also have the power to report any sign of malpractice to the Government in a bid to help improve competition in the market and keep prices fair for drivers.

According to RAC Fuel Watch, the average price of petrol in the UK is 152.86p per litre, while diesel drivers face much higher costs at almost £1.60.

Supermarkets are slightly cheaper, charging between two and three pence per litre, although the “Big 4” retailers have previously been warned about unfairly hiking prices for motorists.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho warned retailers today, saying that she will not hesitate to hold them to account if they unfairly hike prices.

The MP for East Surrey said: “At a time when many were struggling with increased living costs, we saw shocking behaviour from some fuel retailers who failed to pass on savings at the pump.

“Now we are cracking down on any petrol station bosses found to be unfairly hiking up their prices.

“That’s why we’re giving the CMA new powers to bring fairness back to the forecourts and make sure UK drivers get a competitive fuel price.”

Fuel retailers will be forced to come clean on how much they are charging drivers on their forecourts compared to their profits.

Those who fail to comply with the CMA rules could face a fixed fine from the watchdog of up to one per cent of their worldwide turnover, or an ongoing fine of up to five per cent of daily turnover.

Some supermarkets were found to have charged drivers 6p more per litre in 2022, amounting to around £900million in extra costs.

The Government is also progressing with plans to make it a legal requirement for fuel retailers to publish their daily prices, with 12 of the biggest retailers already signing up to the CMA’s voluntary scheme.

Amanda Solloway, Minister for Energy Consumer and Affordabaility, said: "Today marks an important step in our commitment to stand by UK drivers as we continue to keep costs down for families.

“I now urge comparison sites and others to get onboard to help UK motorists find the best local price for their fuel.”

Sara Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said the watchdog welcomed the new responsibility and will hold retailers to account.


Fuel pump

The Energy Secretary has issued a warning to fuel retailers


She added: “The CMA is determined to revitalise competition in this sector so drivers can be confident they are getting the best price possible when they fill up their vehicles.”

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