The great fuel rip-off could be coming to an end

Last year was a torrid time for drivers, with fuel prices reaching all-time highs in the most volatile year since records began. Some of this was caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which decimated imports and pushed inflation into the double digits. But some of the blame can be pinned on retailers as well, as a preliminary investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found. In December, the watchdog reported that “rocket and feather” pricing had started to take hold last year – where prices surge upwards as the wholesale cost rises but drop slowly when it falls. The investigation is incomplete, and the CMA’s tone was fairly measured. Other experts have been less guarded, accusing retailers of “rampant exploitation” and “chronic profiteering”. For those who were not put off driving for life, the outlook for 2023 is more optimistic. There are signs of a tectonic shift in the industry after the Government confirmed it was looking into a fuel price checker, along the lines of European models, to stimulate competition and cut costs. Luke Bosdet, the AA’s fuel spokesman, believes it could be a “transformational year”. A price checker will not be unfamiliar to some readers:...

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