Julie Marson MP calls out supermarket fuel operators for exploiting motorists
Politics / Tue 4th Jul 2023 at 01:15pm
By Amie Strachan
JULIE MARSON, MP for Hertford and Stortford, has called out leading supermarket fuel retailers after an investigation found that increased supermarket profit margins led to drivers paying an extra 6p per litre for fuel last year. The investigation, led by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), found that competition had “weakened” as Sainsbury’s and Tesco, who operate fuel stations in Mrs Marson’s constituency, were identified as utilising “passive pricing policies”, pricing by reference to local competitors rather than responding promptly to cost movements.
In 2022, the Government cut fuel duty by 5p to assist motorists with the cost of living. Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, said that it needed “to be easier for drivers to compare up to date prices so retailers have to compete harder for their business”. Ms Cardell is recommending that the UK government legislate for a new fuel finder scheme which would make it compulsory for retailers to make their prices available in real time.
Supermarkets are generally the cheapest places to buy fuel, with Asda typically the cheapest of those. This has anchored prices in the past. The CMA found that in 2022, Asda and Morrisons each made the decision to target higher margins. Asda’s fuel margin target in 2023 was more than three times what it had been for 2019, while Morrisons doubled their margin target in the same period. Diesel prices have been slow to drop in 2023, partially down to Asda ‘feathering’ (reducing pump prices more slowly as wholesale prices fell) its prices and other firms not responding competitively to that. The CMA has only recently fined ASDA £60,000 for failing to comply with its fuel inquiry.
Last week, Julie wrote to five fuel operators with stations in her constituency: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Esso, BP and Shell. This followed her experiences of seeing great disparities in fuel prices simply by driving across her constituency and to neighbouring areas. In her letter, Mrs Marson called for the retailers to share their comparative pricing data so that “residents can make their own informed choices as to where they purchase their fuel.” The local MP set these retailers a deadline of Monday 10th July to provide this information by.
Commenting on the CMA’s report, Julie said:
“Motorists in Hertford and Stortford have had such a tough time since Putin illegally invaded Ukraine, paying higher prices at the pump. The Government rightly stepped in last year, cutting fuel duty. However, when some retailers are forcing motorists to pay an extra 6p per litre, this saving provided by the Government is totally wiped out. It is totally unfair and I am grateful to the CMA for looking into this. I have already taken action by writing to local operators. I look forward to receiving their comparative pricing data shortly.”
To view Mrs Marson’s letter in full, see the link below.
I call out MPs for exploitation of the general public aka taxing just about everything possible !!
This is what is called a diversion tactic to draw our attention from where it should be. Our fuel and energy costs are the most expensive in Europe, and coincidentally we are the largest producer of renewable energy in Europe. This clearly indicates that renewables are not as cheap as we are being told. Now that’s real exploitation.