Latest in the CMA road fuel market study
First published by Author on July 05, 2023 in the following categories: Consumer Law Industry Investigations Latest Pricing and tagged with cma | competition law | consumer law | fuel | investigations | market study | pricing
The CMA recently published an update in respect of its road fuel market study where it had been looking into the prices and competition in this particular sector.
The study was launched last year and came at an important time when the cost-of-living crisis was really hitting us all and continues to cause significant problems for families across the UK. It is essential to make sure that no companies are breaching competition law and that consumers are not being taken advantage of, particularly when we are all feeling the squeeze.
Background of this CMA investigation
The background to the road fuel market study that is being conducted by the UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), stems from July 2022.
The CMA launched a market study in respect of the supply of road fuel in the UK, and they initially invited comments by August 2022 in respect of any interested parties. The press notice was issued in respect of the reasoning behind the market study, which arose from concerns that there were potential problems in the market that could be adversely affecting consumers.
By December 2022, the CMA published the responses it had received in respect of the invitations to comment from a number of interested parties. It also, in the same month, decided not to make a market investigation reference. However, the CMA made clear that this did not mean that there were no concerns in the sector at all, but that the knowledge at the time suggested that an investigation was not appropriate.
An initial updated report was completed with further invitations for responses to be due at the start of this year.
Latest update in the CMA road fuel market study
The CMA published its latest update in respect of its road fuel market study in May 2023. The CMA said that the study suggested that the majority of fuel price increases were down to global factors, but there were also indications that higher prices could not be completely attributable to outside factors. In fact, the CMA suggested that some of the price increases appeared to potentially reflect a weakening of competition in the market itself, and that margins had increased in the retail market.
It appears that, whilst supermarkets still offer the most competitive prices for consumers, some are able to increase their margins, which comes at a very difficult time when we are all enduring the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
Another important matter to watch
The CMA’s road fuel market study is, of course, an incredibly important one to watch given that we continue to endure the cost-of-living crisis, of which fuel costs have been a core part of it. We are all feeling the pinch in respect of our energy costs at home and in businesses being massively inflated whilst huge energy corporations appear to be making significant profits.
Clearly, it is unfair if huge corporations are benefiting from increased profits at the cost of the consumer without any good reason at all. Whilst it seems to be accepted that there are many global factors that are affecting price increases, it is concerning to continually see news reports where profits are hitting the headlines for how much they are growing.
It is important for the CMA to continue to review and assess the situations in respect of fuel and energy costs in the UK to make sure that the consumers are not being taken advantage of.