Competition in the fuel-retailing sector is working as it should, the PRA has stressed, as the service station network faces continued intense scrutiny from the government and other motoring agencies, amid a consultation on fuel-price transparency.
The RAC has reported that a three-month trend of falling pump prices came to an end in January, and that data from the Competition and Markets Authority’s voluntary price reporting scheme showed a 14ppl difference in the lowest and most expensive prices being charged by supermarkets.
“The range of different prices charged by forecourts across the country shows that competition is working as it should,” said Gordon Balmer, the PRA’s executive director.
“While all petrol stations faced increased fixed costs with wages, energy, forecourt crime and business rates, each forecourt operates a unique business tailored to serve its local community. Some have large shops where people can buy their groceries, alongside other different amenities. Each forecourt has different costs in terms of logistics, buying platforms and fuel card transactions.”
He stressed that the PRA has been actively engaged in collaborative efforts with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to enhance fuel price transparency.
“The PRA is working closely with the Government as it develops a permanent solution for a final fuel-price checker. The PRA supports any measures that will increase the range of choice for motorists and urges all app providers able to publish the data to contribute to fuel transparency.”
Balmer said many motorists choose forecourts for a variety of different reasons, with fuel not always being the main draw: ”PRA members are committed to delivering fair and competitive prices in a dynamic market. Thus, it is essential that motorists have the freedom to explore and discover the most favourable deals.
The PRA has previously stressed that it remains ”dedicated to fostering transparency and fair practices in the fuel industry, working collaboratively with relevant authorities to achieve a balanced and effective fuel price transparency initiative”.