Fears for fuel supply as supermarkets' share grows

Britain's 35m motorists are at bigger risk than thought of running out of fuel after an unexpected increase in supermarkets' share of the petrol retail market, a leading industry association has warned.

Revised official figures show that supermarkets now sell 46.5pc of petrol and diesel at the pumps – a big jump on the 39pc figure quoted by the Government only last December when it claimed that the "UK retail sector has more than enough capacity to meet fuel supply shocks".

Grumpytom: Two doomed businesses - doomed by taxation too, a decent pub with rationally priced beer and decent local garage with good spanner men that also sells fuel.

Burma_Zen: The  local Publican and the Garage man do not have £250,000 to offer the Prime Minister. This is the amount solicited by the corrupt David Cameron to alter any policy to suit the donor. Meanwhile the 650 are busy lining their pockets.

jasperpepper: Any chance of any MPs expressing "moral outrage" at the government making more than anyone else out of pubs and filling stations? Or since when have the politicals given a toss for those "hard working families" they claim to represent. 

ThoughtAtLeastAnOBEorSomething: Of course they favour big multinationals.  For £50,000 an exec can get to have dinner with Cameron and Osborn and lobby shamelessly.  The poor sod at my local garage can't, so he goes to the wall.

SHEREKHAN&Co.: Lobbying is the wrong way round - it should be "what am I bid for you both leaving the restaurant with ears".
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shropshirelad: 'another 175 closed last year and the independent retailers are continuing to get massacred by the aggressive discounting ' silly me and there was I thinking I'd go where it was cheapest when instead I should have been paying 5-10p more per litre to keep the independent garage open. Doh

Disputin1: Sure, it's cheapest at the moment, until they have a monopoly. Care to guess what happens to prices then?

gelert:   How will several supermarket chains have a monopoly on oil prices any more than they do on food prices now ?

bartelbe:  That only works if you have more than one supermarket in your area selling fuel. Even if you do, it isn't hard to legally rig the market, that is what those fuel watch campaigns and promise to match the cheapest local price is all about. It is really a threat to other supermarkets/retailers to not discount and start a price war.

JosieBenn: You surely have heard of loss leaders? Petrol is cheap at SMs because they've slapped the loss onto everything else on the shelves inside. Think of all of their catchy little slogans and smile wryly.

daveyah2002: "as well as enjoying, pre-tax, some of the cheapest road fuel prices in Europe". We don't get it pre-tax so there's nothing to enjoy.

jamescal:  Exactly, they must think people were born yesterday.  So stupid and why are such people given a job to talk rubbish?

Brian Otridge: Once again, this is another facet of LibLabCon favouring big multinational companies over SMEs. And, this scrabble for fuel at low margins is merely symptomatic of the massive tax placed on our fuel, the second highest in the world after Norway (where average incomes are more than double ours). Fuel poverty (both car and domestic) will be a reality soon for the vast majority of the population, due to this and preceding government's short-sighted "quasi-green" policies.

burningbeardy: Yes - so much for 'free-market capitalism'… What we have throughout much of the developed World is corporate or state capitalism.

Crafford: "State" or "corporate" capitalism is a misnomer - it is NOT capitalism.  Some call it "crony" capitalism - but this too is a misnomer.  Implicit in "capitalism" is, by definition, a free and open market - free of any form of monopoly.  What we have is "Statism" or "corporatism" - leave the word capitalism out - it is obfuscatory and has perverse consequences.  For example, the "Occupy Wall Street" movement is correct in its sentiments - in exposing and villifying Wall Street and The City - however, it is misdirected into believing that the cause of our present ill is capitalism.  It is not - it is the favouring of corporations by government diktak and regulations to the disadvantage of the normally much more efficient small and medium enterprises.

Sillius_Soddus: As an IEA member state the UK is legally obliged to hold stocks equivalent to 90 days of net oil imports. Total IEA stocks are greater than 4 billion barrels of oil; 1.6 billion are public stocks held for emergencies. The oil supply chain is robust. This is a scaremongering story by an interest group.

Hospitaller: I bet that isn't refined product. Try putting oil in your tank and see how far you get. Those stocks have to be refined and distributed before anybody can use them.

Disputin1: "Try putting oil in your tank and see how far you get" Quite a long way, actually. Diesels are like that, you know.

Rogsie: "The oil supply chain is robust." Well, maybe the stocks are robust, the supply chain to the end user is another matter…

ThoughtAtLeastAnOBEorSomething: "Competition is strong in the petrol market. This is good for UK consumers who have a range of different choices of petrol retailer, as well as enjoying, pre-tax, some of the cheapest road fuel prices in Europe." I like the "pre-tax" proviso about prices.  We are being stiffed mercilessly in the UK by taxes.  France is catching up though.

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