The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has fined Asda £60,000 for failing to comply with its fuel inquiry, as the watchdog looks to lower fuel prices for UK consumers.
The CMA issued two £30,000 fines to Asda for “sending a representative to attend a compulsory CMA interview who was not equipped to provide evidence on certain topics” and “failing to respond completely to a compulsory written request for information”.
The watchdog also named both Asda and Morrisons and claimed that “each made the decision to target higher margins” on fuel sales in 2022.
The report revealed that the big 4 grocer’s fuel margin in 2023 was more than three times what it was in 2019, while Morrisons doubled its target margin over the same period.
As a result of increased supermarket fuel margins, drivers have been found to be paying an extra 6 pence per litre.
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Chief executive of the CMA, Sarah Cardell, commented: “Competition at the pump is not working as well as it should be and something needs to change swiftly to address this.
“Drivers buying fuel at supermarkets in 2022 have paid around 6 pence per litre more than they would have done otherwise, due to the four major supermarkets increasing their margins. This will have had a greater impact on vulnerable people, particularly those in areas with less choice of fuel stations.”
She added: “We need to reignite competition among fuel retailers and that means two things. It needs to be easier for drivers to compare up to date prices so retailers have to compete harder for their business.
“This is why we are recommending the UK government legislate for a new fuel finder scheme which would make it compulsory for retailers to make their prices available in real time. This would end the need to drive round and look at the prices displayed on the forecourt and would ideally enable live price data on satnavs and map apps.
“Given the importance of this market to millions of people across the UK, this needs to be backed by a new fuel monitor function that will hold the industry to account.”
Cardell concluded: “As we transition to net zero, the case for ongoing monitoring of this critical market will grow even stronger, so we stand ready to work with the UK government to implement these proposals as quickly as possible.”
The news comes as the CMA launched a probe into UK supermarkets last week, after claiming that Aldi price match schemes were being used as a way of ‘profiteering’ off their customers during the cost-of-living crisis.