Consumers in the UK will be “bitterly disappointed” that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will not be launching a full-scale review of petrol and diesel pricing in the UK.
That’s the view of fuel poverty campaigners and those in the automotive industry, which follows new evidence suggesting there are no problems with competition in the UK road fuel sector and that it is working “effectively”.
The OFT launched an investigation last year following concerns that pump prices rise quickly when the wholesale price of crude oil goes up but falls more slowly when it drops.
Quentin Willson, FairFuelUK Campaign Leader said: “The nation will feel let down. Quite frankly, I’m shocked. The OFT investigated in 1998 and now have done so again. Every motorist and business in Britain instinctively knows that ‘something’s not right’. The Americans and the Germans are holding inquiries – why aren’t we? The OFT appears to have failed to address the key issues of: why diesel is more expensive than unleaded in the UK when this is not the case in Europe, why falls in the oil price take so long to be reflected at the pump and why there are such variations in price, often from the same branded forecourts, within the same area.”
Automotive service companies in the UK also said the conclusions from the new fuel report will disappoint drivers in the country.
David Bizley, RAC Technical Director said: “UK consumers have seen a 38% increase in the price of petrol and a 43% increase in diesel costs between 2007 and 2012. The reasons behind this massive rise need to be conveyed clearly to the motoring public and justified so that households, businesses and the economy as a whole are not harmed by ever-increasing pump prices.
“It is a great shame the OFT has not taken this opportunity to instigate a full investigation into this issue which many motorists view as day-light robbery. Our members want to see fairness and transparency and the authorities and industry bodies have an obligation to deliver this. We strongly urge the OFT to reconsider the decision. Rising fuel costs cripple households’ spending power and serve to stifle economic recovery so it is vital the market operates in a manner that is fair to consumers and business.”
Edmund King, President of the AA added drivers in the UK “deserve a better explanation” as to why prices fluctuate and who drives them – “from the pump to the well”.