The PRA is to follow Australia’s lead in seeking a voluntary agreement to curb the fuel discounting practices of the supermarkets, which have been so damaging to the independent petrol retailing sector. It is also calling for the OFT to re-open its investigation into the UK market.

"As Australia’s largest supermarkets cease making fuel offers after a watchdog deems that offering customers discounted petrol is a threat to competition, it is imperative that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) re-open their investigation into the UK fuel market," said PRA chairman Brian Madderson.

"This is a development that the PRA has been monitoring closely through our contacts at the Australian Service Station and Convenience Store Association (ASSCSA).

"The move further discredits the OFT response to our substantive complaints about unfair competition in the UK fuel market."