Motoring

Competition and Markets Authority to get new powers on fuel prices

Diesel prices

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) is to be granted new powers to better monitor petrol and diesel pump prices.

The powers have been granted to the CMA by the government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and is expected to become law next year.

Amendments were tabled to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill in parliament on 15 November 2023, that will force petrol and diesel retailers, including supermarkets, to share information with the CMA on how much they are charging customers for fuel, versus their profit.

The change to the law is designed to help improve competition in the market and “will shine a light on any attempt from retailers to unfairly hike up fuel prices”, the government says.

According to a government statement, any fuel retailer that refuses to come clean on their fuel prices and margins once the amendments become law, could face a fixed fine of up one per cent of global turnover, or an ongoing fine of up to five per cent of daily turnover.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “We welcome the CMA being given new powers to take action against retailers that don’t pass on the savings they benefit from when wholesale fuel costs fall significantly.

“Due to our long-term monitoring of retail and wholesale prices, we have been calling for fairer, more transparent pricing for years.

“While the CMA’s report concluded the supermarkets had overcharged to the tune of £900m last year, our data shows this behaviour is continuing to this day with supermarket fuel margins more than double what they were before the pandemic.

“These new powers can’t come soon enough because, as it stands, the Treasury’s 5p-a-litre fuel duty discount is not making it to drivers at the pumps.”

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