Twenty thousand supporters of the FairFuelUK campaign have joined in the call for two major investigations into the price of petrol and diesel as pump rises have started to rise again.

The calls have come after a renewed surge in pump rises and continued concern that oil traders may have been unfairly rigging the market as the banks have done with LIBOR.

FairFuelUK is calling for the government to do two things: launch an investigation by the Financial Regulatory Authorities into whether traders or speculators in oil have ‘fiddled’ the benchmark figures; and launch a separate and wider investigation managed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into the entire petrol and diesel market process in the UK.

Quentin Willson, national spokesman for FairFuelUK, said: “How can fuel prices be on the increase again? It’s certainly not because of demand. China’s growth is slowing and the euro zone and US are flat-lining. There’s absolutely no economic reason for crude and wholesale fuel prices to have risen at all. I sense the leaden hand of speculators.

“Unless the oil industry can clearly explain that this sudden rally in prices isn’t because they’re fiddling with the numbers, we can only draw the obvious conclusion – oil traders are deliberately massaging prices again,” he added. “This sabotaging of the UK economy has to stop and I urge the government and the EU to investigate these anti-competitive practices as soon as possible.

“The oil industry needs to tell us the truth and stop hiding behind the worn-smooth and patently untrue argument that they’re simply reflecting supply and demand. We just don’t believe them any more.”

Peter Carroll, founder of FairFuelUK, added: “Mercifully, we persuaded the government to drop the 3p August fuel duty rise. However, that good work is now at risk for a price surge that seems to be masked in smoke and mirrors!

“Approaching 20,000 of our members are backing the call for the Office of fair Trading to investigate the whole supply chain and for the Financial Authorities to investigate if the oil traders have been rigging the market. It’s time that the glare of publicity was shone into the dark corners of the supply of our fuel.”