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Volume 890: debated on Monday 21 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will hold an inquiry into the different prices being charged for petrol by garages in various parts of the country; and if she will make a statement.

Competition seems to be reasserting itself in this market. Garages, like other traders, are free to adjust their prices provided they do not overstep the margin controls in the Price Code. Retail prices also vary in different parts of the country because oil companies charge according to what zone the garage is in. The Price Commission has recently made an interim report to me on petrol margins in which it comments that when sales are falling

"the only way an individual garage can protect itself is to cut its price".—["Motor Fuel Retailers' Margins: An Interim Report", HMSO.]
The commission will be making a final report shortly with the results of its more detailed analysis and in the circumstances I do not think any further inquiry is necessary.