The UK is launching an urgent review into the retail fuel market to see whether retailers have passed on the government’s fuel duty cut from March to filling stations, UK Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said this weekend.
Kwarteng asked the Competition and Markets Authority to conduct an urgent review of the retail fuel market, as well as a longer-term investigation under the Enterprise Act, to explore whether the retail fuel market has adversely affected consumer interests.
“Fuel prices are always quick to go up but slow to come down – let’s see why,” Kwarteng said.
“The British people are rightly frustrated that the £5 billion package does not always appear to have been passed through to forecourt prices and that in some towns, prices remain higher than in similar, nearby towns,” the energy secretary said in a letter to the Competition and Markets Authority dated June 11.
The investigation comes as the average price of filling up the tank of a typical family car last week exceeded triple digits in UK currency for the first time ever.
The UK government cut fuel duty by the equivalent of $0.062 per liter in March, but prices have jumped by a lot more since then.
Wholesale gasoline costs in the UK have already jumped fivefold the amount of the fuel duty cut, Simon Williams, fuel spokesperson at the UK’s motoring organization RAC, said last week.
Gasoline prices in the UK—where total taxes on gasoline account for an average 46% of the retail price, per RAC—saw last week the highest daily price jump in 17 years. The average UK gasoline price last week was the equivalent of more than $8.60 per U.S. gallon.
Records continued to be broken in the following days until the average cost of filling a 55-liter family car passed the £100 ($125) mark, the first time in history that drivers are paying triple digits for a full tank.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com