Five Questions About: Petrol prices


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The Independent Online

Are they going up again?

They already have. In fact pump prices have climbed so high this month that the Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation to find out if prices are being manipulated.

Petrol rises when crude oil climbs, but never when it falls, does it?

That's what critics say. Analysis by the AA says there may be something to this but there are also criticisms of supermarkets which sometimes price petrol differently in different towns. The practice has led to a postcode lottery where motorists living in so-called "price jam" towns are forced to pay up to 5p more a litre for their petrol than near neighbours a few miles away.

So supermarkets are to blame?

Not necessarily. The OFT will look into the whole industry, from oil producers, to the wholesale suppliers and gas stations to see if there is unfair price practice anywhere along the line.

What will the OFT do?

They've asked for evidence and will report back in January. They could refer the industry to the Competition Commission.

So we won't have cheaper petrol?

There is growing pressure for fairness on prices so the OFT must be seen to be doing something. We'll wait to see what that is.

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