OFT to investigate operation of UK road fuel sector

The Office of Fair Trading has today issued a call for information on the petrol and diesel fuels sector. It will publish a summary of its findings and any proposed next steps in January 2013.

The OFT will explore a number of claims about how the road fuel sector in the UK is functioning, including whether:

  • reductions in the price of crude oil are being reflected in falling pump prices
  • supermarkets’ and major oil companies’ practices may be making it more difficult for independent retailers to compete with them
  • there is a lack of competition between fuel retailers in some remote communities

Stuart McMillan, West Scotland MSP, has continued to campaign for fairer fuel prices in West Scotland and led a Members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament on fuel prices in 2011.

He says; ‘I’m pleased to learn that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is investigating the issue of fuel prices as currently the system is not fit for purpose.

‘This is evident in West Scotland where many constituents suffer from excessive fuel costs.

‘While the French are cutting the cost of fuel to boost economic activity, the Tories and Lib Dems indulge in little more than cuts to the poorest and gesture politics to their party faithful.

‘Plainly, the issue of fuel prices is one which is affecting a vast number of constituents and I would encourage motorists to respond to the OFT’s campaign.’

Anyone interested in making a submission to the OFT on this matter will find the necessary details here, on the OFT’s own notice of its call for information.

Mr McMillan has also put down a parliamentary motion, in commendation of the Greenock Telegraph’s Petrol and Diesel Watch – as follows:

Motion S4M-01340: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Taken in the Chamber on 14/12/2011

Commending Petrol and Diesel Watch
That the Parliament commends the Greenock Telegraph’s Petrol and Diesel Watch feature, which advises motorists on a daily basis of the fuel prices at filling stations throughout Inverclyde and the west of Scotland; acknowledges that this was established in response to public outcry at rising fuel prices and also reported disparities of as much as 7p per litre between filling stations in nearby towns, and is concerned that dramatically rising fuel prices threaten to exacerbate an already challenging economic situation for households and business operations in Inverclyde, the west of Scotland and across the country as a whole.

Mr McMillan’s motion was supported by: David Torrance, Joan McAlpine, Mike MacKenzie, Bill Kidd, Annabelle Ewing, Richard Lyle, Dennis Robertson, Graeme Dey, Colin Beattie, Jean Urquhart, Kevin Stewart, Margaret Burgess, Gil Paterson, Dave Thompson, James Dornan, Humza Yousaf, Gordon MacDonald, Adam Ingram, Sandra White, Roderick Campbell, Rob Gibson, John Mason, Maureen Watt, Stewart Maxwell, Murdo Fraser.

How should one read the fact that the new Environment Minster, Paul Wheelhouse MSP for South Scotland, did not support his party colleague’s motion where it was supported by Tory Murdo Fraser?

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