Major petrol and diesel law changes to deal with supermarkets ripping off UK drivers

Petrol pump

The CMA will be able to report retailers for malpractice if they inflate prices

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 17/11/2023

- 10:51

Experts are calling for fairer prices at the pumps

A fuel expert has praised new petrol and diesel law changes introduced earlier this week but warned that more action was needed to protect drivers.

New laws have given the Competition and Markets Authority powers to monitor the road fuel market in response to retailers around the UK hitting drivers with expensive prices.

The CMA will become responsible for monitoring fuel prices after a number of reports found that retailers were deliberately keeping prices high despite drivers struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Throughout 2022, petrol stations, including those owned by the four largest supermarket chains, were found to have overcharged motorists by £900million.

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

Drivers will also be relieved to hear that the CMA will have the power to report malpractice from retailers to the Government, who can issue sanctions in some cases.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesperson, commented on the new powers, saying it would help drivers deal with the rising cost of motoring.

He said: “We welcome the CMA being given new powers to take action against retailers that don’t pass on the savings they benefit from when wholesale fuel costs fall significantly.

“Due to our long-term monitoring of retail and wholesale prices, we have been calling for fairer, more transparent pricing for years.”

Currently, drivers are paying 152.47p per litre for petrol and 159.48p for diesel, according to RAC Fuel Watch.

While drivers can get cheaper fuel at supermarkets, the gap between prices is not as large as it once was, with motorists only saving around two or three pence a litre.

Drivers are also being urged to avoid motorway service stations, with prices around 25p more expensive than the UK average.

Because they have a captive audience of those on long journeys, the retailers can justify the price gouging and inflated costs.

Simon Williams added: “While the CMA’s report concluded the supermarkets had overcharged to the tune of £900million last year, our data shows this behaviour is continuing to this day with supermarket fuel margins more than double what they were before the pandemic.

“These new powers can’t come soon enough because, as it stands, the Treasury’s 5p-a-litre fuel duty discount is not making it to drivers at the pumps.”

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho issued a warning to major fuel sellers, telling them she would not hesitate to “name and shame” brands ripping drivers off.

Calls have been made by motoring organisations and drivers to call on the retailers to automatically publish their daily fuel prices to ensure drivers benefit from competition.

The Government announced that a voluntary scheme will provide drivers with up-to-date pricing data ahead of a fully rolled out fuel price checker.

Some of the major brands involved include Asda, BP, Esso, Morrisons, Motor Fuel Group, Sainsbury’s, Shell and Tesco.


Petrol pump

Drivers were overcharged by £900million at the pumps last year


The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has stated it will publish its consultation on the “end-state” solution in autumn of this year.

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