The government has given a curt dismissal to a petition calling for an “independent pump-watch body to monitor and regulate vehicle fuel pricing”.

The petition was launched on the government’s petitions website at the end of October last year by Quentin Willson and Howard Cox, founders of the FairFuel campaign, and Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke.

In the pumpwatch petition they claim “when and why forecourt prices rise and fall is a closely guarded secret” and that “fuel prices rise almost overnight but take weeks to go down”.

If a petition gets 10,000 signatures within six months the government will respond, and if it reaches 100,000 it will be considered for a debate in Parliament. Nearly half way through the six-month period, due to expire on April 28, the pumpwatch petition has attracted 29,750 signatures.

In response, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Government monitors fuel prices and both rises and falls in crude oil price reach the pumps within seven weeks. A competitive market is the best way to keep prices low; a new regulator is not necessary.”

It added: “Analysis by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy suggests that on average, at a national level, crude price changes are fully passed through into pump prices within 6-7 weeks. This time represents wholesale contractual arrangements and the time taken for fuel to be delivered to filling stations through the supply chain. There is no evidence to suggest that, for given changes in crude oil prices, retail prices rise faster than they fall.”

For the full text of the petition and the response go to