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Drivers call for investigation into fuel profiteering

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Written by: Emma Lunn
10/08/2020
FairFuelUK has written to the chancellor asking for the introduction of PumpWatch.

The campaign group says billions have been “fleeced” from motorists, bikers, van drivers and truckers by oil companies and wholesalers for years, with these businesses not passing falls in oil prices fairly to the pumps.

FairFuelUK says the magnitude of potential profiteering, especially during lockdown, is on a scale that commands independent investigation.

Tory MP Robert Halfon and Howard Cox of FairFuelUK have written to chancellor Rishi Sunak, business secretary Alok Sharma, and the Competitions and Market Authority to ask for the introduction of an independent petrol pricing watchdog.

The group has already thought of a name for the potential new regulator: PumpWatch.

Robert Halfon MP said: “Whilst oil prices have been dropping considerably throughout the pandemic, as we stay at home, the UK’s 37 million drivers are not seeing any cheaper fuel prices. Motorists are being fleeced at the pumps – overcharged as much as £10 a tank – at a time of great financial uncertainty.

“It’s the hardworking motorists and their families, like those in my own constituency of Harlow, that depend on their vehicles to earn a living, yet are being hit hardest by the greed of some oil companies and wholesalers.

“That’s why FairFuelUK and I have been campaigning for PumpWatch – a watchdog to monitor the fairness of petrol and diesel prices and cut the cost of living for drivers. Together we have written to the Chancellor and the Competition and Markets Authority to put a stop to this outrageous profiteering.”

Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, said: “The complete disregard for any pricing honesty by the fuel supply chain in a time of crisis is driven by their serial greed. The Covid disaster has giving these faceless profiteers, the opportune cover to ruthlessly fleece drivers at will.

“The government must act now to install PumpWatch, a proposed independent price monitoring body long called for by drivers, FairFuelUK, Fair Fuel APPG, and dozens of MPs, to protect UK’s motorists, van drivers and truckers from the unchecked ingrained exploitation and to alleviate motoring costs in this time of financial meltdown.”

An investigation by Which? last week found that although fuel prices hit a four-year low during lockdown, drivers were being overcharged at the pumps as sellers failed to pass on the savings.

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