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Petrol: Prices

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps are being taken to seek to ensure the stability of the price of petrol. (229388)

I have been asked to reply.

Competitive markets are the best means to ensure efficient petrol retailing. The Office of Fair Trading monitors the UK petrol market to ensure competitive pricing. Consumers are best placed to support suppliers who provide lower prices. Ministers have urged consumers to use their power.

The Government charge fuel duty at a fixed rate per litre. Duty currently accounts for approximately half of the retail petrol price (including duty and VAT) and, consequently, petrol prices are considerably less volatile (in percentage change terms) than the underlying prices of wholesale petrol and crude oil.

The Government recognise the recent instability in the oil price and are committed to continuing the dialogue between producers and consumers to enable a better functioning global oil market. Through the work of the Prime Minister's Global Energy Initiative, the London Energy Meeting in December 2008 will bring Energy Ministers together from across the world to discuss these issues.