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Letter: On pump prices

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Below are highlights from a letter by Priti Patel MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury to FairFuelUK following a recent visit and discussion of prices at the petrol pump.

“We fully share your concern that consumers get the best deal. Over the course of this Parliament the government has taken action to reduce prices at the pump. The government cut fuel duty by 1p /l in 2011 and has confirmed that it will remain frozen for the rest of this Parliament. These actions mean that pump prices will be nearly 20p /l lower by the end of this parliament than they would have been under the previous government’s fuel duty plans. This has come at a considerable cost to the Exchequer, some £22.5 billion over the parliament to 2015 – 16. These are major sums, particularly at a time when there is a continued deficit reduction.

“As you highlighted, it is vitally important that retail customers fully benefit from oil price falls. Customers pay more when the oil price rises and they should pay less now when oil prices have fallen. I firmly believe that the best way to achieve this is through effective market competition, which drives prices down.

“The independent Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the right body to monitor this market, to decide on whether a market investigation is necessary and to continue to ensure effective competition. The CMA has strong powers to take action where there are problems with the market, which are wide ranging and supported by legislation. It can also tackle abuse of dominant market positions, any anti competitive agreements, and enforce consumer protection legislation to tackle practices and market conditions that make it difficult for consumers to properly exercise choice. I would like to see strong action in this area.”

Edited from letter by Claira Lloyd

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