The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fair Fuel has just put out a call for a new independent fuel price watchdog to be established in order to monitor the costs of both petrol and diesel, with petrol stations charging fair prices able to display a kitemark logo.
According to the BBC, the watchdog – set to be known as Pumpwatch – is due to be established because the group of MPs believe the industry is increasing profit margins at the expense of driver… but petrol retailers have described the idea of such an organisation as “impracticable”.
As the MPs have it, petrol retailers made an average profit of 8p per litre in the first three quarters of last year, but this climbed to over 13p a litre come the end of the year. Catalyst Experian figures show that the average price for a litre of unleaded petrol now stands at 120.92p, with 65 per cent of this down to fuel duty and VAT.
And fuel price campaigners now say that although prices at the pump have dropped in the last six months, they’ve not fallen as quickly as wholesale costs – so they’re still too high.
Chair of the APPG Kirstene Hair explained: “Drivers need reassurance that they are not paying way over the odds for fuel. In rural communities where public transport is poor and unreliable, people need their vehicles to get from A to B. It is essential that they pay the fairest price. That is where a price monitoring system would support them.”
However, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association Brian Madderson spoke out against the idea, calling it well-meaning but impractical. Who, he went on to say, would check prices at 8,500 petrol stations? And what would the acceptable margin be for a kitemark? Low-volume petrol stations in the countryside would have to have a far higher profit margin than high-volume outlets, Mr Madderson continued.
FairFuelUK launched a government ePetition to set up the watchdog, supported by the APPG, on December 17th last year. Facts show that in October last year alone, almost £500,000,000 was held back from motorists at the pumps, irrespective of the fall in wholesale fuel prices.
As was noted, £50 billion is already paid each year in tax on motorbikes, cars, vans and trucks – and more than 95 per cent of FairFuelUK’s 1.7 million supporters are now keen to see an independent body set up, similar to the likes of Ofwat, Ofcom and Ofgem, in order to help protect the 37 million drivers out there each and every time they fill their tanks up, as and when oil prices fluctuate.
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