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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Petrol prices down at supermarkets

Category : Business

Supermarkets announce petrol price cuts following a fall in the wholesale cost and a more favourable exchange rate.

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Ticket machine card fraud rise in EU

Category : World News

Several European countries have reported a rise in card crime at ticket machines and petrol pumps, says study

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CO2 rules ‘will save drivers cash’

Category : Business

A new study claims that EU proposals to reduce CO2 will increase the cost of cars, but save much more on petrol.

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Shaking Up Kia’s Soul Range

Category : Stocks, World News

- New addition to the Kia Soul Originals collection

- High level of standard specification

- Choice of petrol or diesel engines and six-speed manual or automatic transmissions

- Available now priced from GBP 15,295

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Petrol prices: all pumped up | Editorial

Category : Business

It’s time for more transparency over wholesale fuel prices and for the Department of Transport to launch a review

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Unless of course you’re an economist at the Office of Fair Trading – in which case it is a magnificent swan, gliding serenely down one of Her Majesty’s waterways. That, at least, is the conclusion one must draw from the competition watchdog’s report on the petrol and diesel market, published yesterday.

Here is a sector worth £47bn a year and essential to tens of millions of Britons going to work, to the shops and to drop off their children at school. Here is an industry that the former transport secretary Justine Greening has attacked for not passing on savings to customers, which energy minister Sandip Verma has lambasted for “ripping off” motorists, and which driving associations such as the AA have been calling on for years to become more transparent.

Yet deluged by evidence from a variety of sources (acting out of self-interest, to be sure, as we shall discuss), the OFT has held a four-month consultation period, spent a few weeks scanning the evidence, and then decided that no serious investigation is necessary. Compare that with its efforts over gym membership: a year-long investigation, triggered by 1,500 individual complaints in just a few weeks, followed by a crackdown on some of the biggest fitness chains.

None of this is to dispute the OFT’s description of the big picture; it is simply to bemoan its lack of curiosity about a market with many movable parts and where there clearly are huge differences. Where the watchdog is obviously right is in stating that petrol prices are so high because of the taxes levied by the Treasury. Of the £1.36 average cost of a litre of unleaded, 81p went to the government in VAT and duty, while 44p was the crude oil price. About 11p was the forecourt margin. Looked at before tax, the UK’s petrol price is bang in line with the rest of Europe.

But that is the bird’s-eye view, which misses out all the local variations that motorists know to their cost all too well. The same retail chain will charge different prices for a gallon of diesel on stations 20 miles apart from each other. Analysts talk about an “Asda effect”, where having the supermarket within a locality forces competitors to slash their prices. There are two possible responses. The first would be to say that this is competition at work, and hard cheese to those in rural or suburban neighbourhoods who do not have the same choice of where to fill up. That is effectively the OFT’s line.

The other is to say that this is a case of retailers gaming the public, getting away with whatever they can in a market that is never going to be as competitive as, say, groceries. You can’t order a gallon of unleaded over the web and it is harder to set up a forecourt than a corner shop. And besides, road fuel is rather more vital to most people than probiotic yoghurt.

Finally, the fuel market is just vastly more complicated than most others. It’s subject to foreign-exchange fluctuations, taxes, the falling number of refineries and the changing composition of our own fuel industry (long gone are the days when Britain was a net exporter of oil). Then there are the contracts struck by wholesalers, which are likely to vary hugely depending on whether they’re signed by Asda-Walmart or a tiny independent. Faced with all of that, the OFT would have been perfectly justified in calling for a proper study. Its decision not to do so would be inexplicable were it not of a piece with its tameness in tackling supermarkets a few years ago.

You can ask for no better sign of the political neuralgia caused by petrol prices (up over 40% in the past five years, despite road fuel tax being held down) than this: yesterday, the Conservatives, the party of low regulation, were up in arms over a report that called for, well, no further regulation. It’s their fault for passing the buck to a government watchdog. Time for a bit more transparency over wholesale prices and for the Department for Transport to start its own review.

UK petrol market ‘working well’

Category : World News

The OFT says petrol and diesel competition is working well in the UK but motoring organisations are unhappy with the findings.

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OFT releasing petrol market study

Category : World News

A study into the competitiveness of the UK petrol and diesel market is due to be published by the Office of Fair Trading later.

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OFT releasing petrol market study

Category : World News

A study into the competitiveness of the UK petrol and diesel market is due to be published by the Office of Fair Trading later.

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Petrol industry ‘in need of review’

Category : Business

Petrol retailers call for a “full review” of both wholesale and retail markets, as petrol prices are expected to rise sharply in the coming days.

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‘Big fall’ in UK petrol stations

Category : Business, World News

Motoring organisations express concern about the fall in the number of petrol stations and fuel reserves shown in a government-commissioned report.

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