Diesel prices have hit a record high and fuel retailers have today called on the Government to investigate 'alleged unfair pricing and predatory pricing tactics' by some supermarkets and oil companies.
The price of diesel is now 143.05 pence per litre, on average, after having rocketed by 10ppl in just 12 months. This puts inflation for diesel at double that of the Consumer Price Index of 3.6%.
In a letter to Chancellor George Osborne, the Retail Motor Industry Federations Petrol division informed him that it has asked the Office of Fair Trading to conduct a market study into unfair price and competition practices in the road fuels industry.
It argues that such practices are forcing up the price of diesel and forcing up to 300 independent retailers out of business every year.
According to RMI Petrol, today there are just 8500 forecourts in Britain, down from 20,000 in 1990, creating fuel deserts and forcing drivers, particularly in rural areas, to travel for miles to fill up.
Consumers and businesses deserve the truth about the costs and pricing of such a vital commodity, said Brian Madderson, chair of RMI Petrol. He added: Resolution of unfair price and competition practices could influence retail prices to consumers and provide some cushion against the tide of rising global oil prices.
Madderson also strongly urged the Chancellor to ease pressure on motorists by abandoning plans to raise fuel duty by 3.02ppl in August and to consider a further cut. If the planned increase goes ahead, it will add at least 4ppl to the existing price of diesel.
According to the AA, drivers in Northern Ireland are paying most for diesel, with the fuel there averaging 143.5p a litre. The cheapest regions are the North of England, Yorkshire and Humberside, where the average price is 142.3ppl.