The OFT has ruled out an investigation into the UK petrol market after concluding that rising pump prices has not been caused by a lack of competition.
After launching a call for information last September on the UK road fuel sector, the OFT announced today that rises in pump prices over the last 10 years have been caused by higher crude oil prices and increases in tax and duty. It said national competition was “working well”.
The OFT found that, pre-tax, the UK has some of the cheapest fuel prices in Europe. In the 10 years between 2003 and 2012 pump prices increased from 76p per litre (PPL) to 136ppl for petrol, and from 78ppl to 142ppl for diesel, largely due to an increase of nearly 24ppl in tax and duty and 33ppl in the cost of crude oil.
It concluded that independent dealers were able to compete fairly in the market, having received no evidence of any anti-competitive practices being used against them.
Clive Maxwell, OFT chief executive, said: “We recognise that there has been widespread mistrust in how this market is operating. However, our analysis suggests that competition is working well, and rises in pump prices over the past decade or so have largely been down to increases in tax and the cost of crude oil.
“Where we receive evidence of potential anti-competitive behaviour we will consider taking action. For example, we have recently opened an investigation into the supply of road fuel in the Western Isles of Scotland.”