Thu, Sep 13, 2018 7:39 PM
The proposed merger of two major supermarkets and an end to fuel duty freeze could see petrol prices reach an all-time high this year.
Fuel duty has been frozen at 57.95p per litre for the past eight years, but Chancellor Philip Hammond hinted that a rise could be on the way, when he told the House of Commons that the freeze was costing government twice as they spend on NHS nurses and doctors each year.
At last year’s budet announcement, Hammond said that the continued freeze would save drivers on average £160 a year, but that means that the Government’s coffers are short of £38 billion if the 57.95p rate stays for the remainder of parliament.
The news for drivers is made worse by fears that the proposed mega-merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda could drive supermarket petrol prices up. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating whether the tie-up will lead to closures of service stations at the supermarkets, and bringing about the end of the price wars which have served to keep petrol prices competitive.
The Sun newspaper, which has long campaigned with the ‘Keep It Down’ message is reporting that CMA Chairman Andrew Tyrie is aiming to take fuel prices into consideration.
He said: “Our duty to promote competition for the benefit of consumers extends across all markets in the UK.
“Our investigation into the proposed merger will, therefore, cover all products and services in which the parties compete, including the supply of fuel.”