Grant Shapps seems to be backtracking on the law on petrol prices in supermarkets | Gasoline prices

Energy Secretary Grant Shapps appears to have backtracked on bills requiring supermarkets to make fuel prices more transparent, instead backing a voluntary price comparison system during a meeting with supermarket bosses.

Shapps on Monday approved the non-mandatory scheme, which had been suggested by the competition regulator, after a summit with retailers he said would involve him holding “fraudulent retailers” to account.

Executives he met from Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s – as well as fuel suppliers BP, Shell and Esso – were under pressure to explain why they hadn’t fully passed the savings on to customers after a cut their wholesale fuel prices. .

In an article in The Sun over the weekend, Shapps wrote: ‘I will tell them to do the right thing and immediately stop any attempts to overload pumps… We will change the law so that companies must provide this price information whether they fancy it or not. »

In a statement after Monday’s meeting, he said: “Today’s commitment to a more transparent marketplace is a step in the right direction – and I welcome their support for the Authority’s voluntary program de la concurrence et des marchés (CMA), which aims to lower prices and stimulate competition so that customers can find the best deals locally. But I warn those who do not put the words into action and continue to rip off the motorists: you will be held accountable.

Earlier this month, Shapps accused petrol retailers of using motorists as ‘cash cows’ after the CMA found some retailers had made 6p more profit per liter of fuel as they were taking advantage of the reduced competition resulting from the Covid crisis.

The Energy Minister said this translates to £75million in extra revenue per month for the four supermarket fuel retailers in 2022 alone.

The AMC has proposed in response that retailers be required to provide live price data, making it easier for drivers to shop for the best deals.

The retailers said the watchdog provided an update at the meeting on a voluntary price comparison system they support.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We welcome customers with greater visibility into fuel prices. We consistently offer the lowest fuel prices in all areas where we operate. »

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