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UK watchdog probes pump prices

2012-09-06 14:18

FUTURE ROAD: Will fuel become so expensive that nobody can afford to drive? Good news for bikers!

 

LONDON, England -  As the price of petrol in South Africa soars again (with R12/litre on the cards) concerns that vehicle owners in the UK are paying over the odds for fuel are being investigated by a competition watchdog.

The UK's Office of Fair Trading is to look at whether or not changes in the price of crude oil - particularly reductions - are fairly passed on to retail customers. UK petrol hit a record R19/litre earlier in 2011.

the OFT will also consider if supermarkets and major petrol retailers are keeping independents out of the market in a business worth , which is worth the equivalent of R432-billion a year. It will also compare prices in rural areas against those in cities.

'KEENLY AWARE OF PRICES'

All this action, the UK's Daily Telegraph reports, follows a 38% rise in the petrol price from June 2007 to June 2012 (diesel rose by 43%).

Claire Hart, director in the OFT's Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets Group, has said: “We are keenly aware of continuing widespread concern about pump prices and have heard a number of claims about how the market is operating so we've decided to take a broad-based look at this sector."

The probe, the Telegraphs says, will take six weeks and a report will be published early in 2013.

A Transport Department spokesman said: "We welcome the OFT's decision. Many people are concerned about fuel prices and that, when crude oil prices fall, the change isn't seen at the pump as quickly as consumers would like. We look forward with interest to the findings of the study."

Bringin the whole thing into focus, a spokesperson for Shell, which has 900 fuel outlets in the UK, pointed out: "It’s important for people to know that only one third of the pump price reflects the wholesale price of fuel - the remaining 60% is tax.”


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