A review of the fuel market by the Competition Authority found that the difference between crude oil prices and wholesale prices – the “refining spread” – had tripled from 10p to almost 35p a liter in the past year.
The CMA said retail margins on petrol “remained at around 10p per liter on average” over the same period.
Now the observer is taking a deeper look at this sector.
The average price of a liter of gasoline in the UK shopping centers on Thursday was 190.8 pence, and diesel – 198.6 pence per liter, according to Experian.
That’s a rise of 60p for petrol and 64p for diesel over 12 months.
Expensive… at Winchester services on the M3 yesterday they were charging over £2.05 a litre.
The CMA also found that March’s 5p cut in fuel duty appears to have been implemented, with major retailers doing so immediately and others gradually.
It also highlighted the significant differences in diesel and petrol prices between rural and urban areas.
FairFuel’s Howard Cox said: “Oil companies are getting rich as an essential ‘no-choice’ resource rises in value.”
“This is not smart business acumen. This is opportunistic greed. The foul stench of speculation rears its ugly head again.”
“There is no doubt that fraudulent pump prices are controlled by businesses further down the fuel supply chain, and it is the large oil company infrastructures that are the main organizers.”
FairFuel also offered to immediately disseminate the CMA’s proposal to improve fuel price transparency.
Sarah Cardell, general counsel of the CMA, said: “While global pressures pushing up fuel prices cannot be avoided, the widening gap between the price of oil and the wholesale price of petrol and diesel is a cause for concern.”
“Now we need to look at whether there are legitimate reasons for this and, if not, what steps can be taken to address the issue.”
“Overall, the retail market looks competitive, but there are some areas that need further study.”
M3 yesterday She said the watchdog would “use our formal legal powers” to investigate pump prices and would “not hesitate to take action” if it found “collusion or similar irregularities”.
The AA’s Luke Bodsett said: “I suspect the fuel trade is not going to change any time soon.”
“I don’t think the CMA needs to fine anyone, it just needs to find a way to fix the broken competition in the road fuel market and then put pressure on the government to implement it.”
Affairs and Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The Government is determined to do everything possible to ensure drivers get a fair deal on fuel.”