Fuel duty: Proposed 12p increase branded 'disgusting' by campaigner
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UK motorists have seen the highest-ever prices for petrol and diesel this year, in response to global oil prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. Prices hit their all-time high in July, with the average price of petrol hitting 191.53p per litre, while diesel was less than one pence short of being £2 per litre.
In a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Dame Andrea Leadsom said there should be an independent regulator designed to scrutinise fuel prices in the UK – dubbed PumpWatch.
Repeating what she asked at Business Questions earlier this month, she said: “It’s time for the Government to debate FairFuelUK’s excellent idea for a new PumpWatch Commissioner to monitor and stop bad practice on garage forecourts.”
In response, Penny Mordaunt MP, the Leader of the House, said that the Government was “looking into” the issue.
She added: “I join her in commending the work of FairFuelUK, which has done a huge amount to champion the rights of motorists and to remind us that holding fuel duty, and cutting it where we can, is good for the economy.”
Last week, a group of 29 Conservative MPs signed the letter to the Chancellor, including former Home Secretary Priti Patel, Lee Anderson and Jonathan Gullis.
Between October 10 and December 8, petrol prices fell just three percent, despite wholesale costs tumbling by 22 percent.
Diesel prices have been even slower to react to market changes, with some drivers still paying over £100 for a full tank, despite wholesale costs falling around 25 percent.
Currently, the RAC forecasts that prices of petrol, super unleaded and diesel should all fall “sharply”, with drivers set to benefit.
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The average price of a litre of petrol has dropped to 152.18p, while diesel drivers are still facing more expensive costs at 174.88p per litre.
Jonathan Gullis MP, who authored the open letter, said: “PumpWatch will be a popular antidote to inflationary pressure.
“It will cost the Government very little to implement and simply involve a small team of analysts headed by the independent consumer fuel campaigning expert, Howard Cox.
“PumpWatch is not complicated but its implementation could restore confidence in Britain’s appalling opaque fuel market.”
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The creation of PumpWatch would create a watchdog with legislative powers to “ensure motorists are not exploited any longer”.
FairFuelUK and the signatories of the letter argue that current retail prices should be at least 10p per litre cheaper, adding that it is “probably more in reality”.
Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuel campaign, said: “For years and years there’s been a foul stench of sickening exploitation hanging around thousands of garage forecourts, despite falling wholesale and oil costs.
“We should be seeing fuel price signposts across the country, 10-20p per litre lower for diesel and petrol.
“What’s more, this surprisingly and increasingly anti-motorist Tory administration seems to be sitting back, dare I say it, almost encouraging the fuel supply chain to continue to fleece drivers at the pumps.
“Don’t forget the billions of extra VAT pouring into the Treasury due to eye-watering pump prices.
“PumpWatch is way past critical, to stop the fuel supply chain continually fleecing motorists at will.”
According to the RAC, 2022 saw the highest average pump prices on record, with costs being almost 30p higher for both petrol and diesel than the previous highest year (2012).
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