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Fuel costs to be investigated

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It has been announced that fuel costs are set to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading to see if the fall in oil prices is being passed on to motorists.

Motorists have seen a 40% rise in fuel costs over last five years with the exception of a few months a year where prices have dropped slightly. Five years ago motorists would pay around 90p per litre for petrol compared to prices today which stands at £1.30p per litre. Diesel prices have also risen by the same amount.

Fair Trading Watchdog has called for information regarding the cost of fuel from the industry, motoring groups and consumer bodies. Competition between fuel retailers will also be looked into see if there are ways this could be improved. The investigation will take six weeks and the finding will then be published in January.

Transport and motoring groups have welcomed the investigation saying it is long overdue as the fall in oil prices are not always shown at the pumps. Motorists will also look forward to the results as many have had to cut down their journeys just to save on fuel costs.

Claire Hart Director of OFT commented on the investigation: “We are keenly aware of continuing widespread concern about the pump price of petrol and diesel and we have heard a number of different claims about how the market is operating.”

“We have therefore decided to take a broad based look at this sector, to provide an opportunity for people to share their concerns and evidence with us.

“This will help us determine whether claims about competition problems are well-founded and whether any further action is warranted.”

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By Amanda Bainbridge