A seven-year fight by the AA to get a fair price at the pump has taken a huge leap forward after the Government called on fuel retailers to set up a transparency register and code of practice.
The register would enable consumers to monitor the daily petrol or diesel prices. If the industry does not respond positively to this proposal then legislation will be introduced.
The AA believes that this should result in major drops in the wholesale price of fuel being reflected more evenly across the country and more quickly at the pumps.
Fleets have long complained that global increases in oil prices are quickly reflected in the pump price whereas drops in price take much longer to filter through. The AA hopes that this Government intervention will stop motorists from being taken for an expensive ride.
It says that April’s $200 a tonne drop in the European wholesale price of petrol - worth 10p a litre at the pump - has still to be reflected in its entirety in the price paid by motorists.
Following a record high of 142.48p a litre in mid-April, the UK’s average price of petrol has still only fallen 7.4p to 135.08. With the UK retailing 51.5 million litres of petrol a day, UK drivers and non-fuel consumer spending are losing £1.4 million a day.
“Over the past seven years we have asked governments to act against the blurred world of UK pump prices, which every driver knows shoot up like a rocket and fall like a feather. MPs have joined the chorus of complaints against postcode lottery pricing where some towns charge up to 5p a litre more for their cheapest petrol compared to another town down the road. Yet, nothing happened,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“At last, we have a Transport Secretary who is prepared to act to win a better deal on fuel prices for consumers.”
King adds: “This month, the German government announced a move towards fuel price regulation. The Austrians have already implemented regulation and, even with a weaker euro, their pre-tax petrol prices remain cheaper than the UK’s. The Danes already have a system of price reporting and transparency up and running. Clearly, patience is running out with record fuel prices across Europe and there is a will to act.”