Anger as fuel price inquiry is ruled out
CAMPAIGNERS say they are "bitterly disappointed" that the competition watchdog has ruled out a full investigation into the fuel market after concluding high prices are the fault of taxes and the cost of crude oil.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said competition in the sector was "working well" and there was "very limited evidence" that pump prices rise quickly when the wholesale price goes up but fall more slowly when it drops.
Furious campaigners, who had called on the OFT to announce a full investigation into the sector, said drivers would feel let down by the findings.
FairFuelUK spokesman Quentin Willson said: "UK consumers will be bitterly disappointed. Every motorist and business in Britain instinctively knows that something's not right.
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"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."
AA president Edmund King said: "The OFT sees the fuel pricing market as competitive but this clashes with drivers' frustration on the forecourts. If fuel pricing is fair and competitive, there is no reason not to publish petrol and diesel wholesale prices to prove the point and reassure motorists."
OFT chief executive 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."