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What we’re doing to provide access to road fuel price data

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Consumer protection

We published the final report of our road fuel market study in July. The market study found that competition in the retail sector for petrol and diesel had weakened since 2019, meaning that drivers were paying more for road fuel.  

We made two recommendations to the UK government which have both been accepted:  

  • a new statutory fuel finder scheme, which would give drivers access to live fuel prices at forecourts. This should help people find the cheapest fuel and keep prices down.  
  • a new statutory monitoring body to hold the industry to account.  

We believe that the best chance of positive change will be achieved when a permanent, mandatory and open access fuel finder scheme is put in place. The UK government has already confirmed it will take forward this recommendation. 

In the meantime, the government asked the CMA to implement a temporary fuel price data scheme. We’re asking fuel retailers to provide up-to-date price data, which will be available to third-party developers. Consumers will then be able to use apps and websites to find fuel prices in their area. 

Launching our temporary fuel prices data scheme

During July and August, the CMA worked with the largest fuel retailers and trade associations – representing a significant proportion of petrol and diesel sold in the UK – on a temporary data scheme.  

While this scheme is a useful first step, it’s important there is a mandatory, permanent scheme in place as soon as possible, so drivers have access to real-time prices from all the fuel stations in the UK. 

The permanent scheme will help ensure effective competition, which benefits consumers and businesses. 

Who’s providing pricing data

The CMA website lists the retailers who have signed up to the scheme, with links to their pricing data. So far, several major fuel retailers, including Asda, Morrison’s, Sainsbury's and Tesco, have joined. You can see the full list of who has signed up on our website. The fuel retailers that have signed up so far account for approximately 35% of service stations throughout the UK and approximately 60% of the volume of fuel sold. 

We're strongly encouraging more retailers to follow suit.   

Find out more about our work on road fuel pricing 

You can read more about the scheme on our road fuel price data scheme page. You can also find out more about the market study we completed this summer. 

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  1. Comment by Robin Austen posted on

    This always supposes Internet is available. How up to date will the info be? Will it have all the fuel types? Are CMA going to limit price differences between super- petrol /diesel so we don't get lured in with cheap rubbish but pay through the nose for decent petrol?

    Instead of making drivers use the Web, that they will undoubtedly do whilst driving .. esp on the motorway, how about putting smart signs up of upcoming 3 services. Like in France. We can all make informed decisions on the fly.
    You could even use the gantry signs when they're not telling people they need to do paperwork to get to France- Halfway up the M6. Or instead of Gritting, on 3rd August, in London.

    • Replies to Robin Austen>

      Comment by Competition and Markets Authority posted on

      Thank you for your comment.

      We recommended that the fuel price monitoring scheme should provide real-time prices and have comprehensive coverage. The government will be consulting on the detailed design of the scheme later in the autumn.
      We talk about motorway fuel price signs in our report, noting trials that had taken place, and our view that the wider rollout of these would likely be a positive development for the market.

      You can read more on our road fuel price data scheme page

    • Replies to Robin Austen>

      Comment by Edward Reed posted on

      Internet is always available. Besides, using highway road signs to display fuel pricing information is not a sensible use of signage - traffic or road safety warnings should always take priority. Building more signs for the sole purpose of displaying fuel information is also not a sensible use of resource.

      If you are worried about distracted driving, fuel price APIs could be easily accessed by automakers and satnav manufacturers, and be used to add fuel pricing into their existing, non-distracting UI layouts. All it requires is a distance and price for each nearby option.

  2. Comment by Peter Newman posted on

    My impression as a driver is that, since this scheme was introduced, the variation in prices between retailers has greatly diminished. That is to say all retailers seem to be charging much closer prices to each other than before this scheme msling "shopping around" less worthwhile. This may indicate that increased access to information has had exactly the opposite impact of that desired and resulted in reduced competition between retailers.

    Has any study of the distribution of prices before and since the scheme been made?

  3. Comment by Edward Reed posted on

    1) Currently, it seems the temporary scheme provides only recent pricing data (i.e. the current price as of that day, providing it was updated by the vendor). This is adequate for viewing the current price of fuel and informing a customer decision on which nearby vendor to visit, which is likely to be the main use case of this system.

    However, is there consideration to also capture the pricing history of each road fuel location, rather than only the most recent price? The data itself would not be heavy (relatively speaking to other government systems) but would provide a wealth of information for analytical purposes on a commercial and customer level.

    For example, customers could retrospectively calculate their fuel consumption (in litres) using the historic pricing data combined with their previous spending data. This might inform their budgeting decisions. On a commercial level, this would enable haulage, taxi, or other road-oriented companies to analyse their past consumption and spending trends.

    2) A centralised API containing all vendors would be preferred as, currently, all vendors are hosting their own endpoints. Is a centralised API hosted by also considered for this project? This could be made possible by allowing vendors to enter their pricing data via an online portal each day, either manually or digitally by scraping from their existing interface.

  4. Comment by Keith Kervin-Jones posted on

    I am a senior volunteer editor with the Waze Sat Nav app. The volunteers have arranged with Waze to aggregate the individual feeds from the providers and feed this into Waze. Most of the prices for stations in this feed are now being shown in the app.

    On Friday (19th Jan 2024), Moto has published its feed. On inspection, it seems that they are including prices for sites they do not run, for example:
    Thurrock MSA - run by MFG
    Scotch Corner MSA - run by EG Group
    Tamworth MSA - run by EG Group
    We have confirmed on the Moto website that the stations they operate have prices, but the prices are missing for stations they don't.

    Due to including stations they don't operate, they are producing vastly out-of-date prices. We must exclude this feed from the App due to these errors. We're hoping that Moto can fix this issue so we can include them.

    We have also spotted issues with individual entries within the other retailers' feeds. Will there be a feedback mechanism to report issues with the feeds?

  5. Comment by Peter Wells posted on

    The concept is very good - there has been a similar scheme in France for some time:
    If there is the opportunity to feed back to the supermarkets, would you be able to ask them to give GPS coordinates for the filling station rather than the shop entrance - it might save people driving through the carpark when they don't need to. . . .


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