The Competition and Markets Authority has published the final report in its Road Fuels Market Study. It follows a campaign started by the MP for West Dorset, Chris Loder, last November to address the unfair pricing practices of commercial fuel providers in his constituency. West Dorset was selected as one of 21 local case studies across the country for the final report, following multiple complaints from motorists and Mr Loder’s representations in Parliament.
The report concluded that competition is not working well, with a weakening of competition in retail since 2019. Nationally, the report found that, from 2019-2022, average fuel margins have increased by 6p per litre. It also confirmed an average local pricing disparity over 52 weeks of petrol being around 2p per litre more expensive than the national average. Speaking about the final report, Mr Loder said:
“These conclusions echo the concerns I directly raised with the Prime Minister, who agreed to undertake an urgent review into commercial predators charging motorists extortionate prices for fuel. I started my campaign last year as the Morrisons-operated fuel station in Bridport was charging around 20p more per litre, relative to other areas, such as Yeovil. These practices are typically the sort of predatory pricing we see at motorway fuel stations, and I have been vocal in my opposition to Bridport residents having to unfairly shoulder the cost of this.”
As a result of the report, the CMA have proposed a new fuel finder scheme to enable drivers to access live, station-by-station fuel prices on their phones or satnavs; and a new monitoring body to hold the industry to account. Commenting on the recommendations, Mr Loder said:
“While these recommendations are a step in the right direction, they do not address the rigorous yield management by the supermarkets. I spoke in the House of Commons on Monday to raise this point, and I will meet again with the Minister responsible to take this further.”