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Fuel Market: Review

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 12 July 2022

5. What recent discussions his Department has had with the Competition and Markets Authority on its review of the fuel market. (901020)

On 11 June, my right hon. Friend the Business Secretary asked the Competition and Markets Authority to conduct an urgent review of the market for petrol and diesel. The CMA published its response on 8 July and has opened a market study into the fuel market, as my right hon. Friend requested.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. I know he has been working with the CMA on this issue, and I have read with interest its report on the discrepancy between the price of crude oil and wholesale prices. However, prices at the pumps in West Berkshire are still very high. My constituency is a rural one where people are completely reliant on their cars, so could my right hon. Friend provide an update as to when my constituents can expect to see better value at the petrol pumps?

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend and other colleagues for leading the campaign and for pointing out some of the discrepancies in the market. I am delighted that the CMA is now carrying out a study. It found that rural fuel prices were consistently higher than those in urban areas, which is definitely worth a further market probe, so I urge her as a campaign leader and other colleagues to submit views and evidence to the CMA as it carries out its market study. One thing that was clear is that in the view of the CMA the duty cut put forward by the Government earlier this year was passed on to retailers.

The CMA would be greatly helped in the energy and fuel market, and especially in the production of hydrogen, by fairness in the TNUoS—Transmission Network Use of System—charges for transmission costs in the electricity networks. When will Scottish renewables producers stop paying £7.36 per MWh for transmission, when producers in independent EU countries pay about 46p per MWh—a difference of 16 times affecting the production of hydrogen, an important fuel?

It is good to be back on hydrogen again. The hon. Gentleman will reflect, I am sure, on the answers I gave earlier on the success of hydrogen, particularly in Scotland. I will say two things in answer to his question on transmission charges. First, as he knows, transmission charges are a matter for Ofgem. Secondly, Scottish consumers benefit from transmission charges compared to consumers in the rest of the United Kingdom. He may wish to reflect on all the pros and cons of the policy he appears to be proposing.