However, on the continent,Germanyis looking to force the pace by becoming the third country to regulate road fuel prices.
AverageUKpetrol pump prices have fallen 4.08p a litre in the past month, down from a record high of 142.48p a month ago to 138.40p, according to the motoring organisation. Diesel drivers are now paying 3.58p a litre less than a month ago, with average pump prices falling from 147.88p to 144.30.
However, drivers and businesses would be even better off if the $200-a-tonne or 10p-a-litre fall in the wholesale price of petrol across northernEuropewas reflected atUKpumps.
Further reductions of ‘up to’ 2p a litre by supermarkets in the past week will further close the gap with falling wholesale costs, although drops of up to 8p a litre by some independent retailers shows already what can be achieved.
Earlier this month,Germanyran out of patience with pump prices as its government decided to force retailers to log price information. A market transparency agency, attached to the German cartel office, has had its role extended beyond domestic energy to include road fuels.
That mirrors the approach already adopted byAustria, whose average price of petrol before tax undercut theUK’s despite a weaker euro, stronger pound and theUKfuel industry’s claim that it sells the cheapest pre-tax petrol in western Europe.
Denmarkalso regulates fuel prices, with suppliers registering a list price before each day’s trading and retailers logging each price reduction on a database that can be viewed by drivers.
Germany’s move towards fuel price regulation, the third European country to do so, reflects a growing consumer and political backlash against high fuel prices at a time of recession
AA president Edmund King said: ‘A £2-a-tank saving for drivers eases some of the pressure onUKfamilies and business, but there is so much further to go. It was noticeable that there has been a flurry of 2p-price-drop and fuel-voucher announcements since the tanker drivers voted not to strike.
‘Germany’s move towards fuel price regulation, the third European country to do so, reflects a growing consumer and political backlash against high fuel prices at a time of recession. Since 2005, the AA has argued the need for transparency in the road fuel market, from supplier to retailer, and now a more severe form is being forced on the industry.
‘We would prefer an Australian or US-style form of transparency, with a regulator acting as honest broker for suppliers, retailers and consumers. But, if regulation spreads further acrossEurope, we won’t stand in its way. Indeed, the Austrian and Danish systems may be a better way to deal with the price differences between neighbouring towns that infuriate huge numbers ofUKdrivers.’