The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has welcomed the news that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has called for information on the UK petrol and diesel sector.
"Diesel accounts for over a third of a haulier’s operating costs," said RHA chief executive Geoff Dunning. "Between June 2007 and June 2012, diesel prices have risen by 43%; a rise which will no doubt have a had a very significant depressing effect on the economy."
The UK retail road fuels sector is estimated to be worth around £32 billion and in light of continuing public concern about pump prices, the OFT wants to identify whether or not there are competition problems that it can tackle in the sector. It is inviting the industry, motoring groups and consumer bodies to submit information.
The OFT will explore a number of claims about how the road fuels sector in the UK is functioning, including:
• whether reductions in the price of crude oil are being reflected in falling pump prices
• whether supermarkets' and major oil companies' practices may be making it more difficult for independent retailers to compete with them
• whether there is a lack of competition between fuel retailers in some remote communities in the UK, and
• whether concerns about price co-ordination and the structure of road fuels markets identified by other national competition authorities are relevant in the UK.
"Fuel pricing has always been a massive issue for the Association and its members," continued Dunning.
"We are greatly encouraged that the OFT has recognised the concerns of the haulage industry and the general public and is preparing to take action."