Fuel Prices: Cost At Pump 'Is Fair'
The road fuel sector is "working well" according to a report into the UK's £47bn market by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The regulator said high prices at the pumps were a result of increasing crude oil prices and taxes - not a lack of competition.
In the 10 years between 2003 and 2012, petrol prices increased from 76p per litre (ppl) to 136ppl, and diesel rose from 78ppl to 142ppl.
But the OFT stressed that over this period, taxes and duties rose by 24ppl and crude oil went up 33ppl.
It said had not identified any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour at a national level - where competition was strong - but admitted there could be some issues at a local level.
The regulator also found "very limited evidence" that oil and gas companies do not pass on lower crude oil prices to retailers and motorists as quickly as they could.
It comes amid concerns that pump prices rise quickly when the wholesale price of crude oil goes up but fall more slowly when it drops.
The chief executive of the OFT, Clive Maxwell, said: "We recognise that there has been widespread mistrust in how this market is operating.
"However, our analysis suggests that competition is working well, and rises in pump prices over the past decade or so have largely been down to increases in tax and the cost of crude oil."
The report did find that fuel is often significantly more expensive at motorway service stations - in August, prices were on average 7.5ppl more for petrol and diesel was 8.3ppl higher.
As a result, the regulator called for the Department for Transport to consider introducing new road signs displaying prices to drivers before they pull into a service station.
The OFT said the growing influence of supermarkets had been a key feature of the sector over the past decade.
The 'big four' - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - have increased their share of road fuel sold in the UK from 29% in 2004 to 39% in 2012.
The report recognised that many independent dealers had found it difficult to compete, with the total number of forecourts falling from 10,867 in 2004 to 8,677 in 2012.
But the OFT also said that - pre-tax - the UK has some of the cheapest road fuel prices in Europe.
As a result of its findings, the regulator will not launch a full investigation into the road fuel market - despite calls for one from campaigners.
Quentin Wilson, from campaign group FairFuelUK, said UK consumers would be disappointed by the OFT's findings.
"Every motorist and business in Britain instinctively knows that 'something's not right'," he said.
"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."
But oil analyst Malcolm Graham-Wood from VSA Capital welcomed the report.
"This totally concurs with our own view that there is no collaboration and that retail petrol prices in the UK fairly reflect the price of crude oil ... for better or worse," he said.
"Groups like FairFuelUK seem to think that just because petrol prices vary from different areas that this is due to collaboration and price fixing which is patently not the case."
what do you think?
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Fair enough OFT - now get stuck into the Ticketmaster CON!
Fair to who.
Everyone knows the fuel companies are crooks. Except our civil servant governors.
enquiry after enquiry after enquiry ... and nothing changes cuz they know we wont do anything about it.
Any one ever thought that the result would have been anything else
Paul. No. Because had the conclusion been different they would have had to do something about it and taking on big corporations is something the OFT is not prepared to do.
Is anyone in the least surprised at these findings as I certainly am not. What they are saying is that every motorist in the country is wrong as are the AA & RAC etc. They have also said on the BBC that excluding duty, UK prices are amongst the cheapest in Europe. What a pointless observation. Just where does one obtain this duty free petrol? Perhaps the next thing they should investigate is the tax regime surrounding fuel
"Increasing crude oil prices and taxes", the "and taxes" is key to this. We are getting well and truly shafted by VAT and green taxes. It is this green tax myth that is raising the prices of fuel bills so much, if you want to be green then stop overpopulating us and the world.
Said what the government told them to say
OK they say 'The regulator said high prices at the pumps were because of increasing crude oil prices and taxes - not a lack of competition.' IF this is so how come a group of petrol stations within an area all charge the same yet move five miles and the prices within a group of petrol stations is different. The petrol ALL comes from the same depot at Kingsbury. Think the OFT need to get out of their office and have a look because this to me is a cartel
"Cartel" is the word. Everyone knows that all supermarkets set a price on goods. So it's the same on fuel, growth will never happen for years until we as a country grab these MP's by the b a l l s and show them what they have done!!!! This is a joke but we all need to work so we have to pay, or drive off.
Neil 'Cartels' are as I am sure you know illegal this report is a scam.
fuel prices are way way too high. the petrodollar cycle is wrong. technology is held back as oil props up banking system. a basic job commute is more than most jobs pay. public transport costs are stupid 21 quid return to london. when oil is drilled out, teh usa fed reserve creates debt which it lends to western govts so that saudi etc dont run everything by indebting western countries to them, or smash into a certain rival country. this inflates everything housing esp. why dont we have nationalist policy with elelectric cars and hho systems like on german submarines.
Why do we not encourage alternatives - gov't even taxed bio up to the hilt when it looked like a viable alternative
Office of Fair Taxes, run by the people for the people might be a better outfit to judge what is a fair price, as its the tax & VAT which make it hurt.
The pound on the Baht was 85 Baht to £1 Now it is 46 The £ is collapsing so this Government is now destroying every thing
Everyone knows they're all a bunch of liars. Even the AA know it and say it. When you have top businesses suggesting fuel is monpolised and they're all liars and everyone else says it including truck drivers, then, everyone everywhere knows what's going on. They're all a bunch of liars, making as much money as they can with total disregard for innocent, poor people driving around in their cars trying to survive. They couldn't care less about anyone elses' lives. Why should anyone care about those lot?
I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE,OR WHO ARE GOING TO LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS MATTER,PLEASE PLEASE GO TO WWW.FAIR FUEL.COM AND ENROLL NOW.MEMBERSHIP IS ABSOLUTELY FREE.HELP SPREAD THE WORD TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
its only got a small amount to do with the oil company's, its all the government taxes.last year there was a guy from the oil company stood on a forecourt, and he said that if he gave away his petrol to every one that came in he would still have to give the government 64p. that is how much tax and vat they take out of every pound.as every body knows put fuel up and every thing goes up.i agree with bobh 385 told what to say by the government.
I'm wondering how many backhanders were given to OFT officials, they say it's fair, I say we shouldn't take that on face value. This world is run by finks and the oil companies are the biggest of the lot. They organise wars to get to the oil for God's sake! this industry has made Russian gansters rich and inserted presidents in the USA. This report stinks.