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The OFT will publish its initial findings from the report which was launched in September 2012, and today it will announce whether a full investigation will follow.
One of the areas investigated by the OFT was whether petrol and diesel prices were reacting appropriately in response to the drop in crude oil prices, and passing on these drops to the general public. At present, it is clear that consumers do not feel they are benefiting from crude oil price drops, and they are willing the Government to intervene.
The report also questioned whether supermarkets and larger oil companies were behaving in ways which made it more difficult for independent retailers to compete against them. It has already been made public that certain independent retailers have had to offer consumers their fuel prices at cost price, simply to fall in line with supermarkets.
Since September, the OFT has been hearing evidence from trade bodies, government and regulatory organisations, consumer bodies and motoring groups to pull together the report which will be announced today at 10.30GMT.
The Retail Motor Industry (RMI) which includes the Petrol Retailers Association has also accused larger oil companies of selling petrol and diesel from their own forecourts at close to the wholesale price at which they have sold the fuel to independent retailers.
“This market has been hiding itself in the long grass for far too long and consumers have a right to transparency, honesty and fair pricing,” said Quentin Willson, spokesman for the pressure group FairFuelUK.
“We want to know how wholesale prices are calculated, why wholesale prices move, why it takes so long for falls in crude oil to appear at the pumps, why diesel is so much more expensive than unleaded and why some fuel retailers can charge up to eight pence more per litre than others often in the same area.”
It is hoped that today’s report will shed some light on the current situation and will mean that consumers and independent retailers will both benefit from fairer fuel prices in future months.