Government launch Pumpwatch consultation in aim to reduce fuel costs for drivers

Government launch Pumpwatch consultation in aim to reduce fuel costs for drivers
Government’s proposals are underway for the new Pumpwatch scheme, which would see all fuel stations across the UK legally required to share real-time price information.

As a result, millions of drivers could soon be able to get the latest petrol station prices instantly from their mobile device.

As part of this consultation, the government will set out the next steps to bring fair prices back to the pumps and transform how the UK shops for its fuel.

On Tuesday 16th January, consumers, retailers, and other organisations have started to provide their views on the matter, with an organisation to be appointed by the government to assess the information collected.

According to the Government, under the new proposals, forecourts across the country will be legally required to share live information on their pump prices within 30 minutes of any change in price, which could save drivers 3p per litre on fuel by helping them find the best deal at the pump.

This will allow tech companies to develop new ways for the UK’s 41.2 million drivers to search for the cheapest fuel in their area.

By forcing retailers to be transparent about how much they are charging for fuel, as well as giving drivers access to price comparison information, the goal is to help drive down prices by reigniting competition across the industry.

Following the consultation announcement, Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “Our work on competition and transparency is working. Drivers are now paying the lowest average price at the pump for two years.

“We are forcing retailers to share live information on their prices within 30 minutes of any change in price, helping drivers to find the best deal at the pump.

“This will put motorists back in the driving seat and bring much-needed competition back to the forecourts.”

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As a part of the announcement, the Government stated that 12 of the biggest retailers, including all four fuel-selling supermarkets, have already signed up to an interim voluntary scheme run by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to share their daily prices.

Last year, a report by the CMA revealed some retailers had failed to pass on savings in oil prices – charging drivers 6p more per litre for fuel, which amounted to £900 million in extra costs in 2022 alone.

Minister for Energy Affordability and Skills Amanda Solloway said: “We will always act to help keep costs down and ensure hardworking people are getting a fair deal.

“Our plans are laying the foundations for new fuel finder tools, making it easy for drivers to find the cheapest deals.

“I’m pleased that following government action, many retailers are already taking steps to help bring back competitive prices to the pumps.”

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “This is a really important day as it should pave the way for fairer fuel pricing for everyone who drives.

“Sadly, there have been far too many occasions where drivers have lost out at the pumps when wholesale prices have fallen significantly and those reductions haven’t been passed on quickly enough or fully enough by retailers.

“We badly need to see competition in the wider market match that of Northern Ireland where fuel prices are consistently 5p cheaper.”

Read the latest fuel news here.

What do you make of the consultation announcement? Will this lead to fairer prices on forecourts across the UK? Leave your comments below.

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