The island’s Office of Fair Trading chairman has blamed UK factors for the gap between UK and island vehicle fuel prices.
OFT chairman and Onchan MHK David Quirk said UK prices were regularly monitored and blamed a recent increase in the gap between UK and island prices on UK factors which were beyond our control.
Since then the gap has shrunk back.
‘It appears that this [a widening gap] was more about UK than Isle of Man factors and particularly something of a short-term price war between the big UK supermarket chains,’ he said. ‘While the comparative average which we use does not include the supermarkets obviously there is an indirect impact as retailers with proximity to the supermarkets are being forced to drop prices to remain competitive.’
In the past Mr Quirk has attributed the disparity to transportation costs to the island, the relatively small market in the Isle of Man and the lack of competition, for example from supermarkets, forcing prices down.
According to the rolling eight-week average used by the OFT, the difference is currently 5.1p for unleaded and 4.16p for diesel, which Mr Quirk said was a reduction.
Mr Quirk said the question of UK petrol prices was coming under close scrutiny from the UK Office of Fair Trading and added he would be watching the outcome with great interest.
‘Clearly the UK market for road fuels has a major influence on the island because both of our importers purchase from UK refineries,’ he said.
‘Crude oil prices peaked in mid to late August and have now steadied slightly below that peak, although they are still high relative to the June and July period.
‘One of the key issues which the UK OFT are looking at is the relationship between the rise and fall of crude markets and pump prices. Any impact on UK markets will obviously knock-on to the island.’
In the last month, a litre of unleaded petrol has risen by 6p in most garages in the island.
Average prices for the UK (including supermarkets) show diesel prices peaking at about 150 pence per litre towards the end of August and levelling out in September at 142 pence. Unleaded petrol prices peaked at about 144 and fell back to 138 pence.
UK costs for diesel and unleaded petrol show Lincoln and Bath around the 140/135 pence per litre mark. Dumfries and Northampton topped the ratings at 145 per litre for diesel and 140 to 142 for unleaded petrol.
On Sunday, most Manx garages were selling a litre of unleaded petrol at 145.9 pence and diesel is 149.9 pence.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Monday 20 May 2013
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