"In the last 5 years I have been successfully campaigning, with Motoring Journalist and Broadcaster Quentin Willson, for lower and fairer prices at the pumps, our 1m supporters cannot comprehend why an essential resource so important to the public, haulage industry, businesses and the economy, is not subject to transparent pricing control and scrutiny. Why don’t we have an ‘offPump’ styled regulatory body that protects 32 million UK consumers?
Until we have clarity and openness in this market, the casino mentality will remain and benefit the secretive cartel of supply chain operators, supermarkets and oil speculators who will continue to dictate what we pay every time we fill up.
But there is also a new distressing trend showing an ugly side to this unregulated market. Just 6 months ago retailers were making about 3 to 5p per litre on both main fuels. Since these historic and welcome falls in global oil prices the wholesale price for petrol has dropped to 97p per litre with diesel coming in at about £1.02p. But average pump prices in the UK remain too high and do not reflect accurately the falls in oil prices. Petrol is sold at an average of £1.07 and for diesel at an incredibly high of £1.16. Not only is the retail mark-up bigger than in June for both fuels the increasing gap between petrol and diesel is pure opportunistic profiteering.
Most garages buy on a regular basis via wholesalers paying spot prices dictated by greedy speculators and middle men. Unlike the gas/electricity markets who have to buy months in advance, there is absolutely no excuse to not pass on the benefits of current oil price falls immediately and in the right amounts at the pumps.
Amazingly we are now told that Speculators are hoarding millions of barrels of oil at these low prices ready to release into the market when, as sure as eggs are eggs, the price will rocket upwards.
Quentin Willson and I wrote to the Chancellor in November asking him to re-visit the issues of oil price manipulation and forecourt pricing and use the Competition and Markets Authority to set up an "OffPump” inquiry to bring transparency and clarity to this opaque market.
As a result of this letter, we met in person with Priti Patel MP the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Robert Halfon MP, PPS to George Osborne. Priti Patel agreed with our call for an inquiry by writing back to us saying: ‘I would like to see strong action in this area’. So far we have seen no action by her or the Treasury. We have however very welcome support in Parliament from many MPs, including David Jones, Jason McCartney, Robert Flello, Mark Garnier and Tessa Munt, to name but a few of the 146 MPs that support the FairFuelUK Campaign and are calling for a pricing inquiry.
It’s clear that the Government taking in excess of 70% in tax and disingenuously calling for oil companies to pass on the falls to consumers, really does not have the stomach to call for a full public inquiry. It’s probably due to a General Election taking place in about 100 days. Their minds are on their careers.
FairFuelUK will continue to fight for the hard pressed and fleeced motorist.”
Howard Cox, Founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign