Grant Schapps, the Energy Secretary, recently met with retail bosses to discuss fuel price transparency measures, but it has not inspired much hope.
RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said:
“While we fully support Mr Shapps’ attempt to get the supermarkets to voluntarily provide real-time pump prices ahead of legislation being passed to force them to do so, it is unlikely to bring prices down.
“We fear the Energy Secretary’s efforts may be in vain, particularly as apps like my RAC already allow all drivers to compare prices free of charge.
What’s badly needed is an official wholesale fuel price monitoring function which has the power to fine or take action against major retailers who don’t lower their forecourt prices when wholesale costs drop significantly.
While the Competition and Markets Authority recommended an element of monitoring wholesale prices in its report in UK fuel retailing, the RAC fears without the threat of consequence in the form of fines, the biggest retailers are unlikely to lower their pump prices quickly enough when the wholesale market trends down. This aspect of the CMA’s report needs to be properly addressed when legislation is put before Parliament.
“Competition only works where one or more retailers focus consistently on cutting prices to get more people to use their forecourts. Sadly, this is something that is currently missing everywhere but in Northern Ireland where fuel retailing is fairer on drivers.”
Drivers can check which forecourts sell the cheapest petrol and diesel near them via the free myRAC app