Petrol market 'must be probed'

Petrol pumpCampaigners have called for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to launch a full investigation into the petrol market.

The OFT is to report on Wednesday on the findings of a review it has been carrying out about how the sector operates.
The founder of campaigners FairFuelUK, Peter Carroll, said: "Tomorrow's report by the OFT should call for a landmark full investigation into why the UK road fuel market is so dysfunctional with its regional variations, slow price falls, apparent market monopolies and pump prices that are measured in nine-tenths of a penny.

"There is a suspicion that some people are making a lot of money speculating in the petrol and diesel market that is essential for every family and business in the country. This needs to be fully examined and these suspicions addressed.".

Quentin Willson, national spokesman for the organisation, added: "We want to know how wholesale prices are calculated, why wholesale prices move, why it takes so long for falls in crude oil to appear at the pumps, why diesel is more expensive than unleaded and why some fuel retailers can charge up to eight pence more per litre than others often in the same area."

The OFT launched a review in September into whether reductions in the price of crude oil are being passed on to motorists. The watchdog called for information from the industry, motoring groups and consumer bodies amid concerns over the prices charged for petrol and diesel at the pumps.

The UK retail road fuels sector is estimated to be worth around £32 billion. Petrol prices rose by 38% between June 2007 and June 2012, while diesel prices went up by 43% over the same period.

The OFT said on launching the review that it would explore a number of claims about how the road fuels sector is functioning, including whether supermarkets and major oil companies are making it more difficult for independent retailers to compete.
The review would also consider whether there is a lack of competition between fuel retailers in some remote communities.

The OFT began to look at the issue last February when it received a submission from the Retail Motor Industry (RMI), which raised concerns about the ability of independent fuel retailers to continue to compete in the market.

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Petrol market 'must be probed'

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