Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has written to leading fuel retailers reminding them to pass on tax cuts to motorists as diesel prices continue to soar.
The letter follows claims that some retailers increased their margins after the 5p per litre fuel duty cut introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in March to help motorists amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Kwarteng said: “The British people are rightly expressing concern about the pace of the increase in prices at the forecourt, and rightly frustrated that the Chancellor’s Fuel Duty cut does not appear to have been passed through to forecourt prices in any visible or meaningful way. It is also unacceptable that different locations even within the same retail chain have widely different prices. The Chancellor and I, therefore, want to re-emphasise and communicate again our expectation that members do everything possible to ensure that drivers are getting a fair deal across the country.”
Kwarteng said his department officials have spoken to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about the issue and the regulator has been closely monitoring the situation.
He added: “I have been reassured that they will not hesitate to use their powers to act against petrol stations if there is evidence that they are infringing competition or consumer law.
“My department’s resources will be fully available to the CMA to ensure that they have access to the best possible up-to-date analysis and tools to monitor the market.”
In response, Gordon Balmer, Executive Director of the Petrol Retailers Association, said: “We have responded to the Secretary of State’s letter concerning fuel pricing. In it, we have reiterated our point that we agree on the need for the Fuel Duty cut to be passed on, and that our members have done so.
“The letter also contains a more in-depth explanation of fuel pricing as the RAC’s analysis omits some crucial factors regarding the costs associated with operating a forecourt.
“We have offered to meet with the Secretary of State to ensure transparency, further explain fuel pricing and reiterate our view as to how the government can best alleviate the burden on struggling motorists.”