A cross-party group of 60 MPs are insisting that the Government’s competition watchdog looks into growing claims of price fixing in the fuel sector.
Politicians are claiming that petrol retailers are not passing on savings to motorists and want the watchdog to investigate.
Conservative MP for Harlow Robert Halfon is leading the campaign and recently tabled a motion that will see MPs take a September vote which will force the Office of Fair Trading to investigate.
Halfon claims that research he has seen shows oil companies are dragging their heels when it comes to updating fuel prices and that, even then, they fail to pass on the full saving. Halfon recently set up petrolpromise.com, a website which shows oil prices dropped from £72 to 62 between February and June.
Mr Halfon said:
“The question that has to be asked is: Are oil companies now behaving like bankers Why when the international oil price falls does it take so long to see prices fall at the pumps? The OFT should crack down on unfair behaviour by the oil firms.”
For every litre of unleaded or diesel fuel just under half is taken in fuel duty, 20% is taken in VAT and 30% goes to the oil company. Less than 5% goes to the petrol retailer.
A spokesperson for Petrolpromise.com offered:
“Many G20 nations like Germany and America have initiated fuel price regulation – to crack down on profiteering by the oil companies. Their economies are growing as a result. Britain is lagging behind.”
In May Transport Minister Justine Greening told fuel retailers to set up their own code of practice so consumers can monitor daily petrol or diesel prices.
Darren Preston of VCARS comments:
“Without wanting to create another government Quango, fuel pricing has become such an important issue to the modern British household, we wonder if it is time to set petrol prices like interest rates? Fuel pricing can no longer be allowed to reflect the whim of oil companies, things are too important for that. We need a modern British economy that can actually get around and do business, rocketing fuel prices limit that chance of re-growth. Hard working British families need to travel to see family and friends, to enjoy their well-earned holiday and not be constantly worrying about the price of fuel and its related commodities. VCARS just want a fair deal for drivers, nothing more.”