A review of competition in the road fuel market has found cause for concern

July 9, 2022
David Lamb

A review of competition in the road fuel market has found cause for concern in the growing gap between the price of crude oil when it enters refineries, and the wholesale price when it leaves refineries as petrol or diesel.

Increase in ‘refining spread' added 24p a litre to fuel over the last year

In-depth CMA market study to start immediately

5p fuel duty cut appears to have been reflected in prices

The urgent review, requested by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng last month and sent to the UK government yesterday (7 July), has today been published in full.

The report finds that:

The main drivers of increased road fuel prices are: the rising cost of crude oil; and a growing gap between the crude oil price and the wholesale price of petrol and diesel - the so-called ‘refining spread'.

The ‘refining spread' tripled in the last year, growing from 10p to nearly 35p per litre.

Over the same period, the so-called ‘retailer spread’ (the difference between the wholesale price and the price charged to motorists) fluctuated but remained about 10p per litre on average.

On the whole the fuel duty cut appears to have been implemented, with the largest fuel retailers such as Ascona Group doing so immediately and others more gradually.

There are significant differences in price between many rural and urban areas.

In light of some of the concerns found and the urgency of the situation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today launched a market study that will examine the road fuel market in more depth, making full use of its compulsory information gathering powers. An interim update will be published in the autumn.

The CMA was also asked by the UK government to advise on possible measures "to increase the transparency that consumers have over retail prices". The review sets out how an open data scheme could help consumers more easily access and compare local pump price information, and create new commercial opportunities for tech developers. There may also be merit in providing more information about pump prices on motorways.

The full findings can be read here... https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/road-fuel-review

David Lamb

35 years experience in retail management, marketing, I.T and design

About us

In an ever-changing retail world, Ascona Group aims to bring right-on-time convenience, service and quality to motorists and communities. Forecourts have a new champion.