It is ultimately the responsibility of individual retailers to set petrol prices, based on a host of factors. Analysis of commercial reports of the wholesale fuel prices suggests that on average, at a national level, wholesale price changes are fully passed through into pump prices within 4-5 weeks. This time represents wholesale contractual arrangements and the time taken for fuel to be delivered to filling stations through the supply chain. There is no evidence to suggest that, for given changes in wholesale prices, retail prices rise faster than they fall.
I appreciate people’s frustration with the delay in passing on the full value of the cut to fuel duty to consumers. I welcome confirmation that the big four retailers have already brought in the full cut. It is my understanding that many independent retailers need to deplete their stocks and then resupply with fuel bought at a reduced rate before motorists will see the change in pump prices.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy closely monitors average retail petrol and diesel prices and publishes these data regularly. This is available at: www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/oil-and-petroleum-products-weekly-statistics.
While I am aware of the arguments in favour of introducing an independent pump pricing watchdog, I do not believe such a move is necessary. I firmly believe that the most effective way to keep fuel prices down is through an open and competitive market. In 2013, the Office for Fair Trading investigated competition in the UK fuel sector and concluded that it was operating well. It should be highlighted that the Government works with numerous stakeholders to ensure that the fuel industry is competitive, so consumers benefit from low prices. I firmly believe that the most effective way to keep fuel prices down is through an open and competitive market.