Drivers 'not getting a fair deal' with 'unacceptable' petrol and diesel prices

A petrol pump

Petrol and diesel prices are starting to rise again

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 10/08/2023

- 13:32

Petrol and diesel prices are starting to rise again despite efforts to help drivers save money

Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, has fired a warning shot to retailers if they do not pass on savings to drivers.

Supermarkets and fuel retailers have been hammered in recent months after being accused of withholding price cuts from hard-pressed motorists.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its long-anticipated fuel report in July, which slammed fuel retailers for not cutting costs, despite the price of wholesale oil falling.

As part of the report, the CMA said it would launch an interim and voluntary system for retailers to publish fuel prices.

A petrol station

Fuel prices broke all-time records last July


In an open letter to Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, Mr Shapps said it was “unacceptable” for retailers to not help motorists save money by lowering prices.

The MP for Welwyn Hatfield added: “It is wrong that at a time when households are struggling with increased living costs, they are not getting a fair deal on fuel and are being overcharged.

“That is why the Government accepted the CMA’s recommendations to increase transparency in order to empower drivers to find the best prices possible for their fuel.

“I strongly expect retailers to co-operate with the CMA to develop the voluntary scheme to this timeline and I will not hesitate to call out any foot dragging.”

Over the last two months, petrol and diesel prices have stagnated and started rising again, ending a months-long record of consistent price drops.

Currently, the UK average for petrol is 147.96p, while supermarkets are usually always cheaper, charging just 143.94p.

Diesel is also being affected by the price rises, selling for £1.49 on average or 145.61p at supermarkets.

For those filling up on the motorway this week, they can expect average prices of 170.91p for petrol and 172.77p for diesel.

Commenting on the letter, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said it was unfortunate that petrol stations were not helping drivers by lowering prices.

He added: “High street retailers might be discounting their prices to lure us back to their shops, but there is no such luck at our service stations as fuel prices rocket just as many families are filling up for their summer holiday getaways.

“We can only hope that fuel companies are still feeling the eyes of ministers and the CMA on them as they calculate how much they really need to charge to cover their costs.”

Asda has become the first of the “big four” supermarkets to introduce a fuel price checker earlier this month.


Petrol and diesel pumps

The CMA slammed fuel retailers for not cutting prices


It announced that drivers could find the opening and closing prices for fuel through their website on their store locator tool.

The supermarket said it would soon develop a system to show real-time pricing, which should be rolled out in the coming months.

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