THE issue of wholesale fuel prices in Orkney is to be taken to the Office of Fair Trading, according to a story in the island’s local newspaper Orkney Today. The report said the situation had been
highlighted after a fuel supplier in Caithness was able to supply petrol stations in Orkney cheaper than they could buy fuel locally.
Petrol station owners said they could buy petrol cheaper from Caithness, even when paying the extra freight charges with the road fuel tankers coming by boat. There are two petrol wholesalers in Orkney, Highland Fuels and Scottish Fuels. Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael told Orkney
Today: “News that some of the larger petrol retailers in the county have been able to obtain fuel at a cheaper wholesale price is very welcome and has seen the resulting decrease in the pump prices at these garages.
“The question which now arises is, if one wholesaler can do it, then why can the other wholesalers not achieve at least as good as, or a better price?
“Information has been given to me in confidence that some of the practices by fuel wholesalers and distributors may be such as to exclude proper market competition. If true this is wholly unacceptable and the Office of Fair Trading must act swiftly and decisively.
According to Orkney Today, one local fuel retailer said: “You do not have to go far to see that keeping a petrol station viable is very difficult. When you travel down the A9 you can see only a fraction of the petrol stations still in operation than you could 20 years ago, and we do not want to see that happening in Orkney.”