Report fuels anger at different prices at the pumps

Private hire driver Richard Barlow said the OFT report’s findings made no sense

Private hire driver Richard Barlow said the OFT report’s findings made no sense

First published in News Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

DRIVERS claim a postcode lottery at the pumps is fuelling their anger.

Motorists in Oxfordshire last night hit out after an Office of Fair Trading report into the fuel industry played down claims of varying prices and independent garages unable to compete with supermarkets.

Last night the Oxford Mail found fuel prices in the county varying by up to 13 pence with petrol on sale for 130.9p per litre in some places, and 143.9 per litre at the M40 Oxford Services near Wheatley.

But the report by the Office of Fair Trading played down claims of price differences between neighbouring towns, and dismissed claims independent traders were failing to compete with supermarkets.

Private hire driver Richard Barlow, 59, said: “Down near Swindon you can get petrol for £1.27 or £1.28 per litre, so why is it £1.34 in some places? It just doesn’t make sense.

“I don’t know how they have come up with these findings, it’s crazy that they can say there’s nothing in it.”

He said he would rather pay higher car tax than pay duty on petrol, and said drivers were hit twice by the taxman.

According to comparison website petrolprices.com last night, a driver can fill up with unleaded for 130.9p a litre in Banbury, but motorists fuelling their vehicles a few miles away in Bicester have to fork out between 133.9p and 135.9p.

Steve Radband, who runs Bampton-based SJ Radband Haulage Ltd, also reacted with anger to the report.

The 50-year-old said: “I think it’s ludicrous that these people think it’s fair.

“If you got fuel from a Texaco in Witney and then from a service station, I guarantee it would be about six or seven pence difference. How is that fair?”

The report said the OFT had received complaints about discrepancies between neighbouring towns, but the evidence showed “it did not appear that price differences were as great as those complained of”.

It said independent retailers had complained they were unable to compete with supermarket and oil company-owned sites.

But it added: “We have not at this stage received sufficient evidence of any practices being used against independent dealers to justify investigating these allegations further.”

It also said it had found “limited evidence” of prices rising quickly in response to an increase in the price of crude oil, but falling slowly after a decrease.

OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell said: “Our analysis suggests that competition is working well, and rises in pump prices over the past decade or so have largely been down to increases in tax and the cost of crude oil.

Comments (7)

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10:09am Thu 31 Jan 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

It's fascinating how the most expensive in Oxford (Wheatley Services) and the cheapest in Oxford (Wheatley AsDa) are less than a minute apart by car.
It's fascinating how the most expensive in Oxford (Wheatley Services) and the cheapest in Oxford (Wheatley AsDa) are less than a minute apart by car. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

11:16am Thu 31 Jan 13

snert says...

Motorway services will always rip you off.
Motorway services will always rip you off. snert
  • Score: 0

11:29am Thu 31 Jan 13

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Why the price difference between Sainsbury's Kidlington and Heyford Hill Sainsbury's ?
Why the price difference between Sainsbury's Kidlington and Heyford Hill Sainsbury's ? Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe wrote:
Why the price difference between Sainsbury's Kidlington and Heyford Hill Sainsbury's ?
Is Heyford Hill cheaper?

If so, it would be the cluster of competition with Tesco, Shell & Sainsbury fairly close together.

Try campaigning for an AsDa in Kidlington...
[quote][p][bold]Sandy Wimpole-Smythe[/bold] wrote: Why the price difference between Sainsbury's Kidlington and Heyford Hill Sainsbury's ?[/p][/quote]Is Heyford Hill cheaper? If so, it would be the cluster of competition with Tesco, Shell & Sainsbury fairly close together. Try campaigning for an AsDa in Kidlington... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Grunden Skip says...

What a whitewash, limited evidence of the feather effect??? When Crude rises so does the price at the pumps with immediate effect even though that crude was bought at the lower price way before, yet when Crude goes down the price at the pumps does not go down with immediate effect, according to the petrol companies because the crude was bought at the higher price way before. If the OFT can't see that then they should be replaced.
What a whitewash, limited evidence of the feather effect??? When Crude rises so does the price at the pumps with immediate effect even though that crude was bought at the lower price way before, yet when Crude goes down the price at the pumps does not go down with immediate effect, according to the petrol companies because the crude was bought at the higher price way before. If the OFT can't see that then they should be replaced. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

8:09am Sat 2 Feb 13

spinkle says...

I went to Welch way services on Thursday and found I was paying 2 pence per litre more than what was displayed on the price board when questioning why this was they said they always up date it last very quick to update the pumps though a deliberate attempt to lure customers in at a cheaper price
I went to Welch way services on Thursday and found I was paying 2 pence per litre more than what was displayed on the price board when questioning why this was they said they always up date it last very quick to update the pumps though a deliberate attempt to lure customers in at a cheaper price spinkle
  • Score: 0

7:30pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

spinkle wrote:
I went to Welch way services on Thursday and found I was paying 2 pence per litre more than what was displayed on the price board when questioning why this was they said they always up date it last very quick to update the pumps though a deliberate attempt to lure customers in at a cheaper price
not sure about the legal aspect on that one, but it is worth looking into. They could be done in quite a heavy handed fashion for misleading the public. The price advertised MUST be the price charged, and if as you say it is done on purpose then they will get hammered.
[quote][p][bold]spinkle[/bold] wrote: I went to Welch way services on Thursday and found I was paying 2 pence per litre more than what was displayed on the price board when questioning why this was they said they always up date it last very quick to update the pumps though a deliberate attempt to lure customers in at a cheaper price[/p][/quote]not sure about the legal aspect on that one, but it is worth looking into. They could be done in quite a heavy handed fashion for misleading the public. The price advertised MUST be the price charged, and if as you say it is done on purpose then they will get hammered. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

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