ACS submits evidence to CMA on fuel market pricing

The Association of Convenience Stores has submitted evidence to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) detailed market study into fuel pricing, highlighting the competitive nature of fuel pricing and the limited impact that retailers can have on the overall fuel price.

The market study follows a review ordered by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng in June, which was requested after the price of petrol and diesel increased by more than 60p in the previous 12 months.

The market study is focusing on what the CMA sees as the two main factors affecting the increase in the fuel price:

  • The crude oil price, including the fall of the value of sterling against the dollar.
  • A growing gap between the crude price and the wholesale price – the refining spread.

One area of concern raised ahead of the review by campaigners focused on whether the 5p cut in fuel duty on 23 March was passed on to customers. In the publication of its review, the CMA state that they see “no evidence… that retailers in aggregate have profited from failing to pass on the duty cut,” noting that there were price reductions in fuel from supermarkets, company-operated sites, and independent forecourts alike.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome this follow up review into the fuel market, which is examining the key drivers of price changes that are ultimately outside of retailers’ control. We will continue to engage with the CMA through the process of their formal market study into the fuel market.”

The CMA’s initial findings are expected in the autumn, with a decision due to be taken on whether to make a further market investigation by 7 January 2023. The deadline for the final review report is 7 July 2023.