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RMI calls for Office of Fair Trading probe into fuel

The petrol division of the Retail Motor Industry Federation has called on the Office of Fair Trading to investigate alleged unfair practices hurting motorists.

It has made a formal made a formal submission to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recommending that it conduct an urgent new study into the UK fuels market under the Enterprise Act 2002.

Studies, including recent ones by the AA and by Experian Catalist, have indicated motor retailers continue to face a decline in service and maintenance work as motorists drive fewer miles annually due to high fuel costs and pressure on household finances.

It comes as the average price of diesel hit a record high of 143.05 pence per litre, having risen by 10p in the last 12 months.

More increases are expected over Easter due to pressure on supply. Petrol now costs 135.09 pence per litre on average.

RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson said: “This will be the most important study of the troubled UK fuels market for more than a decade. Rising pump prices show no sign of abating.

"Now more than ever it is absolutely crucial that the OFT obtain real transparency into the structure of wholesale costs and retail competition.”

He said evidence gathered by the RMI shows alleged unfair pricing and predatory pricing tactics by certain hypermarkets and oil companies are driving independent fuel retailers out of business at the rate of 250 to 300 sites a year.

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