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Retailers are being hit with ‘high margins’ on fuel sales

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A Cabinet Minister has warned that motorists are suffering with “unfairly high margins” on fuel sales and there are calls for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to take “meaningful action.”

A letter from the RAC to Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho is calling on the CMA to take action against retailers who are charging motorists to much at the pumps.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams wrote, “The RAC recognises that retailers, along with all businesses, have been affected by high levels of inflation, but we feel that current margins are extremely unfair on drivers struggling to get by in the cost-of-living crisis.

“In addition, having tracked fuel prices against the Consumer Prices Index, we can see there is a clear link between the two, meaning unfairly high margins are making inflation higher than it should be.”

He added, “Even though there has never been more fuel price data publicly available, the issue of excessively high retailer margins persists.

“The RAC believes this will only be improved if the CMA as the price monitoring body is able to take meaningful action against retailers whose margins appear unreasonable when looked at alongside the price of wholesale fuel.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said, “The Energy Secretary has been clear that retailers who fail to pass on savings to drivers at the pumps will be held to account.

“We are already giving the CMA tough new powers to force retailers to come clean on their prices and call out any rip-off charges.

“Drivers deserve to know they are getting a fair price for fuel and our PumpWatch scheme will do just that, helping them to find the best deal.”

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the Petrol Retailers’ Association, which represents independent fuel sellers, said, “Petrol retailers continue to offer motorists the best deals possible while wrestling with skyrocketing increases to their fixed costs.

“Retailers are having to contend with record levels of theft as well as increases in business rates, energy bills and the National Minimum Wage.

“Our members are committed to keeping pump prices as low as possible for their customers but they are not immune to the impact of geopolitical events outside of their control.

“We have been working closely with the Government as they develop their fuel price transparency scheme, which will help motorists find the cheapest fuel available to them in their area.”

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