Fuels Industry UK calls on Government to carefully design fuel finder scheme to minimise costs on fuel retailers

Elizabeth de Jong, chief executive UKPIA Summit 2023

Fuels Industry UK CEO Elizabeth de Jong

The Government’s proposed ‘fuel finder scheme’ should seek to keep fuel retailer red tape and costs to a minimum, says Fuels Industry UK.

In its reponse to the Government consultation on an ‘open data scheme and monitoring function,’ the association is calling for the fuel finder scheme to provide a clear benefit to consumers and ensure costs to retailers are proportionate to those goals.

Fuels Industry UK claims the proposed fuel price aggregator is a costly middleman and is not needed as the voluntary scheme and existing apps already make data accessible.

It believes price reporting should only be required for ‘standard’ forms of fuels and not ‘super’ petrol and diesel because consumers often buy super grades according to quality of the product rather than price.

The Association is also concerned about the proposed requirement for fuel retailers to report retail price changes within 30 minutes because some retailers may not have online reporting methods. It says 90 minutes will allow all sites to report and ensure some time is available to resolve errors.

Given that sanctions for non-reporting are expected, the Association strongly believes that data provided by fuel retailers should focus on fuel retail prices and not include trading hours or fuel types offered for sale, which are not central to the purpose of the scheme and may be difficult to provide, for instance during bank holidays.

In its response Fuels Industry UK also states that it believes competition is the best way to ensure the consumer gets a fair deal and will continue to work with Government to ensure the view of industry is understood, and the administrative burden of any changes is minimised.

Fuels Industry UK CEO Elizabeth de Jong said: “We agree that consumers should have access to transparent information about fuel prices - indeed, fuel retailers are very open about their prices and make them easily accessible at each location by providing them on signs for the public before they enter the site.

“Given there are existing voluntary schemes that provide the public with fuel price data, it is essential that the new scheme is well-designed to really benefit the consumer rather than only placing disproportionate new costs on fuel retailers.”