CMA calls for swift action to address fuel prices

Fuel retailers can expect to come under greater scrutiny after a new report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) called for a new ‘fuel monitor’ oversight body to ensure greater transparency in competition.

The report identified a reduction in competition since 2019 and said there needed to be greater transparency around prices.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said: “Competition at the pump is not working as well as it should be, and something needs to change swiftly to address this. Drivers buying fuel at supermarkets in 2022 have paid around 6 pence per litre more than they would have done otherwise, due to the four major supermarkets increasing their margins. This will have had a greater impact on vulnerable people, particularly those in areas with less choice of fuel stations.

“We need to reignite competition among fuel retailers and that means two things. It needs to be easier for drivers to compare up to date prices, so retailers have to compete harder for their business. This is why we are recommending the UK government legislate for a new fuel finder scheme which would make it compulsory for retailers to make their prices available in real time.

“This would end the need to drive round and look at the prices displayed on the forecourt and would ideally enable live price data on satnavs and map apps.”

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “The fact that drivers appear to have lost out to the tune of nearly £1bn as a result of increased retailer margins on fuel is nothing short of astounding in a cost-of-living crisis and confirms what we’ve been saying for many years that supermarkets haven’t been treating drivers fairly at the pumps.

“It’s all about action now and we’re extremely pleased to see the government has agreed to follow through with both of the CMA’s recommendations.”