Retailers have until October 17 to respond to an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) questionnaire issued today as part of its assessment of the UK petrol and diesel fuel sector to identify whether or not there are competition problems that it can tackle.

Retailers are being asked to explain how competition works at the retail level of the supply chain and provide information on how they set retail prices.

The OFT is also interested in whether increases in the price of crude oil are reflected in the pump price quicker than reductions are.

It has stated that if the information received points towards competition problems, the options open to the OFT could include undertaking further work to consider referring the market to the Competition Commission for in-depth analysis; launching a market study into a specific aspect or aspects of the market; seeking voluntary action from the industry; or undertaking consumer or competition enforcement.

The questionnaire can be downloaded from the OFT website: