The PRA has attacked the Government’s stance on fuel prices following warnings by the Treasury to pass on cost savings to motorists.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has vowed to write to all main fuel suppliers and distributors for “assurance” that they will pass on the benefits of falling crude oil prices to consumers “as quickly as possible”.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA, responded: “The PRA has been trying for weeks to get a meeting with a Treasury minister to discuss the whole issue and they have failed to agree to a meeting so therefore to criticise the industry without speaking to us is grossly unfair.

“The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently looked at the industry and made no comments on prices, and an investigation from the Office of Fair Trading found that there was very little evidence to suggest that petrol and diesel prices rise quickly when oil prices go up, but are slow to fall when prices drop.

“The Government should be pressing the EU Competition Commission to complete its investigation of possible oil price fixing, which they commenced in August 2013.

“In the past five years, 900 independent petrol retailers across the UK have closed due to economic reasons, and we are deeply concerned that over 80 pence of every litre purchased goes to the Government in fuel tax and VAT.

“Fuel duty in the UK is already among the highest in Europe and the Treasury should be looking at ways of further reducing this tax burden on motorists and businesses.”