More Consistency Needed in Supermarket Fuel Pricing, Says Committee
Synopsis: The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment today considered a Consumer Council briefing that demonstrated inconsistencies in fuel prices between different locations in the same supermarket chain.
Date: 11 April 2013
Reference: ETI 08/12/13
The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment today considered a Consumer Council briefing that demonstrated inconsistencies in fuel prices between different locations in the same supermarket chain.
Chairperson of the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Patsy McGlone MLA said: "The Committee is aware that supermarket fuel pricing has a positive impact on general fuel price competition in a particular area. However, we are surprised and disappointed to see the quite substantial differences in fuel pricing across outlets in same supermarket chains. Consumers are being treated differently, solely based on the area in which they buy their fuel, and supermarkets must either provide justification to consumers for price variations between outlets or change their pricing policy.
"The Committee realises that there are factors outside of our control, such as wholesale fuel prices and taxation, which directly influence the price of fuel. However, we struggle to see an appropriate justification for such considerable fuel price differentials across the same supermarket retailer, based on geographical location. We learned today that sometimes prices varied by as much as 6 and a half pence per litre between two locations in the same retailer in the same week."
Mr McGlone concluded: "That is why the Committee today, after consideration of the data and supporting evidence, has agreed to write to the supermarkets concerned to obtain their reasoning for their fuel pricing policy. Having considered their responses, the Committee may wish to hear from the supermarkets at a future meeting. The Committee wants to ensure that we are doing all we can to help ensure that consumers are being offered the best possible price for petrol and diesel."