Petrol costs: Greening may force retailers to pass on price cuts
Published: 30th May 2012 14:29:40
Transport Secretary Justine Greening has said she will consider legislation to force petrol retailers to pass on cuts in the wholesale price of fuel.
The Department of Transport says pump prices paid by motorists have fallen by just 7p despite a 10p fall in wholesale prices since April.
Ms Greening told the BBC she would consider taking further action to ensure motorists "get a better deal".
But petrol retailers said her remarks showed a "lack of understanding".
Petrol prices have fallen back since hitting record levels in March, when unleaded rose above £1.40 a litre.
The AA has said wholesale costs across northern Europe have dropped more than 16% during May.
A Department for Transport source told the BBC the industry would have a matter of weeks to come up with a voluntary code of conduct to ensure wholesale falls were passed on within a fortnight to the motorist.
But if a scheme could not be agreed, he indicated the government would look at legislation, although the source was unable to say how long that might take.
Ms Greening told the BBC she wanted a voluntary scheme to be agreed.
She said: "That's what we're going to look at first, but if that doesn't work we will look at some of the things other countries have done like Germany, Austria and Denmark, who have taken more mandatory action in this area.
"I'm really determined that motorists get a better deal."
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: "Petrol stations should be lowering their prices when wholesale costs of fuel fall, and it is unacceptable if they are refusing to do so, especially when they are quick to pass on any increase.
"Ministers must also accept their share of responsibility for eye-wateringly high prices at the pumps thanks to their decision to hike VAT on fuel."
She added: "Ministers should temporarily restore the lower rate of VAT to fuel to give much-needed relief to households feeling the squeeze, as well as acting to ensure price cuts are fully passed on to motorists."
Quentin Willson, national spokesman for campaign group Fair Fuel UK, said: "It's a bit rich for ministers to try and deflect the issue of pump prices to the oil companies and retailers.
"It is the government themselves that takes a staggering 81.5p per litre in fuel duty and VAT on every litre sold. Worse still, the government is sticking to its plan to add another 3.6p of combined fuel duty and VAT on August 1. This move borders on the desperate."
Brian Madderson, chairman of the Retail Motor Industry Federation's petrol division, said: "Suggestions that the falling price of oil and wholesale price movements on the continent should dictate further pump price cuts across the UK by independent forecourt operators is damaging to this struggling sector and shows lack of any real understanding of fuel price mechanisms."
At 17:03:14 in SportChampions Cliftonville moved to the top of the Premiership and maintained their unbeaten league record by thumping Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park.
At 17:00:19 in EnglandSea anglers in Cornwall are calling for urgent action to preserve fish stocks.
At 16:58:50 in ScotlandRangers fans held a protest against the club's board during the Championship game against Queen of the South at Ibrox.
At 16:49:44 in SportBritish eventer William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning conquered a tricky cross-country course to take command at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
At 16:47:41 in ScotlandSir Paul McCartney has become the latest celebrity to call for Scotland to stay part of the UK ahead of the independence referendum.
At 16:44:44 in WorldThe Iraqi army, Shia militias and Kurdish Peshmerga have joined forces to try to free the town of Amerli in northern Iraq, local sources say.
At 16:40:37 in EnglandA man has been charged with religiously-aggravated assault after MP George Galloway was attacked in a west London street.
At 16:39:27 in EnglandCampaigners say they are angry a former school in East Sussex is to be sold to a spiritual organisation which they claim will not benefit the community.
At 16:22:32 in Northern IrelandTen thousand people are expected to make their way to Omagh for the largest bluegrass festival outside of North America.
At 16:12:01 in EnglandA government inquiry into child abuse "needs to get moving" in the light of the "devastating" Rotherham scandal, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Petrol costs: Greening may force retailers to pass on price cuts [Online] (Updated 30th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431832/Petrol-costs-Greening-may-force-retailers-to-pass-on-price-cuts [Accessed 30th Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
The only clinical trial data on the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp shows it is 100% effective in monkey studies, even in later stages of the infection.
Ten thousand people are expected to make their way to Omagh for the largest bluegrass festival outside of North America.
Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger will be switched off in China in October, marking a final end to the 15-year-old service.
Sea anglers in Cornwall are calling for urgent action to preserve fish stocks.
Council-run pest control services in Powys have been scrapped as part of cost-cutting measures to save the local authority £20m.
Rangers fans held a protest against the club's board during the Championship game against Queen of the South at Ibrox.