The government has committed to introducing an open data scheme to give drivers access to petrol station prices through their smart phones or sat navs, and to introducing a body to monitor the road fuels market.
The announcement follows the publication of the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) report earlier today, and is intended to make it easier for drivers to shop around and increase competition between sites.
The government will consult on the design of the open data scheme, and market monitoring function this autumn – with changes to the law needed to bring it in. In the interim, the CMA will create a voluntary scheme encouraging fuel retailers to share accurate, up-to-date road fuel prices for publication by August and continue to monitor fuel prices using its existing powers.
The move follows a similar scheme in Germany, which boosted competition among fuel retailers.
Grant Shapps, energy security secretary, said: “Some fuel retailers have been using motorists as cash cows – they jacked up their prices when fuel costs rocketed but failed to pass on savings now costs have fallen.
“It cannot be right that at a time when families are struggling with rising living costs, retailers are prioritising their bottom line, putting upwards pressure on inflation and pocketing hundreds of millions of pounds at the expense of hardworking people.
“Today I’m putting into action the CMA’s recommendations and standing by consumers – we’ll shine a light on rip-off retailers to drive down prices and make sure they’re held to account by putting into law new powers to increase transparency.
Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “It isn’t fair that businesses are refusing to pass on lower prices to protect their profits while working people struggle with balancing their budgets.
“Consumers need to be treated fairly, and so we’re empowering drivers to find the best prices possible for their fuel by taking swift steps following the CMA’s recommendation.”