Consumer Council calls on supermarkets to end local fuel pricing

THE Consumer Council has called on the large supermarkets in Northern Ireland to end local fuel pricing following the publication of an Office of Fair Trading report on the UK road fuel sector.

Speaking on the findings, the Consumer Council’s Chief Executive, Antoinette McKeown, said: “The OFT called for information on the cost of road fuel in the UK last September.

“The Consumer Council conducted an on-line survey of NI consumers to contribute to our submission as we were already aware that motorists here pay among the highest prices in the UK for fuel and we wanted to ensure that the voice of NI consumers was reflected in the OFT report.

“This report provides details on why Northern Ireland consumers currently pay slightly more than in other regions of the UK. Based on average pump prices, looking at 12 regions of the UK, Northern Ireland is the joint most expensive region for diesel, alongside the South East, and the most expensive for petrol.

“The report found that Northern Ireland prices are slightly higher due to the lower volumes of fuel sold and lower prevalence of supermarket chains which can drive competition in local areas.

“The OFT is not proposing any further action in this area and therefore consumers in Northern Ireland are still going to be paying high fuel costs.

“Consumer Council price monitoring for the week commencing January 21 shows that prices differ by up 6ppl across the same supermarket outlets for the same type of fuel. The OFT report clearly indicates that large supermarkets can buy their fuel at a lower cost.

“We recognise that local pricing is not a competition issue but halting this practice and giving the best possible price to all NI consumers would show that supermarket retailers are doing right by their customers.”