Motorists set for protection from rip-off fuel prices

The competition watchdog is to be granted powers to regulate fuel prices after a year of sky-high prices at the pumps, giving motorists more protection over 'rip-off' fuel prices

Fill fuel at the gas station
(Image credit: Lourdes Balduque)

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to be granted powers to monitor petrol prices as its investigations showed forecourts are failing to pass on savings in wholesale fuel costs, resulting in motorists being ‘ripped off’ at the pump. 

The move will protect drivers against unfair hikes in fuel prices and major petrol stations, including supermarkets, as they will have to be more transparent on their pricing and share how much they are charging customers versus their own profits.

Petrol stations that fail to do so will face a penalty of up to 1% of their worldwide turnover, or an ongoing fine of up to 5% of daily turnover.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

The powers have been granted as part of an amendment to the Digital Markets, Competition & Consumers Bill, introduced this week.

“We welcome this new responsibility and will use it to hold fuel retailers to account,” says Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA.

“The CMA is determined to revitalise competition in this sector so drivers can be confident they are getting the best price possible when they fill up their vehicles.”

Although news of inflation easing is welcomed, it seems drivers are still not wracking in the benefits, with CMA’s first report on the fuel market revealing “some early signs the road fuel market is not working as it should be.”

How much are fuel prices right now? 

According to the AA, unleaded prices rose from 155.5p per litre in September to 156.2p per litre in October. Diesel prices were also up from 159.4p per litre to 162.6p per litre from September to October. 

As a result, the price difference between the price of unleaded and diesel has gone up by 6.4p per litre. These figures are more than double the 7p per litre average. 

According to motoring body RAC, the average supermarket fuel price sits at 149.46p per litre and the motorway average costs 177.62p per litre. 

How to save on fuel 

Here are some tips on keeping the cost of fuel down

Don’t opt for premium fuel- As you can imagine, premium fuel costs more than normal fuel as it has a higher octane rating- it can put the cost up by 10p to 15p more per litre. 

Check your tyre pressure- If your tyres are worn out and under/overinflated, it could lead to using more fuel. You can check your car’s manual for the recommended tyre pressure, or you can check online on the TyreSafe website

Don’t speed- As well as it being safer to drive at the speed limit, your fuel consumption will also thank you as driving faster means using more fuel. 

Look after your car- Keeping your car serviced and regularly maintained means the car can run more efficiently. This can include making sure your fuel cap is in good condition, changing the oil in your car and changing the air filter from time to time. 

Vaishali Varu
Staff Writer

Vaishali has a background in personal finance and a passion for helping people manage their finances. As a staff writer for MoneyWeek, Vaishali covers the latest news, trends and insights on property, savings and ISAs.

She also has bylines for the U.S. personal finance site and Ideal Home, GoodTo, inews, The Week and the Leicester Mercury

Before joining MoneyWeek, Vaishali worked in marketing and copywriting for small businesses. Away from her desk, Vaishali likes to travel, socialise and cook homely favourites