At Marsh Finance, a leading car finance lender, we strive to provide valuable insights into pressing issues affecting individuals nationwide. The recently confirmed reports on inflated fuel prices at supermarkets have caught our attention, and we believe it is crucial to shed light on this matter of great concern. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) findings have unveiled a distressing truth: consumers are burdened with an extra 6p per litre for their fuel, placing even more pressure on their already stretched budgets.

A petrol pump connected to a car.

CMA Report Analysis: Impact on Consumers

The CMA’s confirmation of the supermarkets’ inflated fuel prices serves as a harsh reminder of the ongoing challenges everyday people face. With the cost of living steadily on the rise, households are already grappling with mounting financial pressures, and this recent revelation only exacerbates their struggles.

It is disheartening to witness the impact of these inflated fuel prices on individuals, especially when considering the broader context of the escalating cost of living. People find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet as the prices of essential goods and services continue to climb. The burden placed on households, particularly those with lower incomes, is becoming unbearable.

Transportation costs, including fuel expenses, are an essential component of the average individual’s monthly budget. Therefore, any increase in fuel prices has a ripple effect on their overall financial stability. The additional 6p per litre further erodes the disposable income of consumers, leaving them with less money for other essential expenses, such as groceries, utilities, and healthcare.

Check out our helpful article on the cost-of-living crisis here.

CMA Report Analysis: Impact on Businesses

The impact is not limited to individual households. The cumulative effect of inflated fuel prices extends to businesses and the overall economy. Small companies, which heavily rely on transportation, are forced to absorb higher fuel costs, putting additional strain on their profit margins. This, in turn, can lead to reduced growth and job losses, exacerbating the economic challenges faced by communities.

Cardboard boxes stacked in a shopping cart.

Involved Retailers

The recent revelations regarding certain retailers’ involvement in inflated fuel prices have raised serious concerns about their pricing practices. Notably, Asda’s fuel margin target for 2023 was found to be more than three times higher than what it had been in 2019, while Morrisons doubled its margin target within the same period. Such significant increases in profit margins indicate a departure from fair pricing principles, putting additional financial strain on consumers.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) discovered that retailers like Sainsbury’s and Tesco raised their prices in line with the inflated targets instead of responding competitively to these changes. This behaviour is disheartening, as it undermines the essence of a competitive market, leaving consumers feeling disappointed and let down by these retailers’ actions. Transparency and a commitment to fair pricing are essential to ensure a level playing field and restore trust in the retail industry.

The CMA’s confirmation of inflated fuel prices at supermarkets is a stark reminder of the challenges individuals face in today’s economic climate. With the rising cost of living and the additional burden of higher fuel expenses, people are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their finances.

The UK government building with Big Ben.

What is the UK Government’s response?

In response to the report’s findings, the government has taken decisive action to protect consumers and promote a fair fuel market.

The government has accepted one of the key recommendations from the report, which calls for the mandatory public disclosure of fuel prices and the establishment of a market monitoring body. They will embark on a consultation process in the coming months to design an open data scheme and market monitoring function, with necessary changes to legislation. In the interim, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will introduce a voluntary scheme to encourage fuel retailers to share accurate and up-to-date road fuel prices for publication by August.

The government’s decision to implement these measures follows the successful implementation of a similar scheme in Germany, which increased competition among fuel retailers. The government has taken significant steps to shield consumers from ever-increasing energy bills. They have invested almost £40 billion in support measures. This includes paying half of the typical household bill and saving the average home approximately £1,500 by the end of June. Furthermore, the latest Ofgem price cap, effective from 1 July, is expected to lower yearly energy bills by around £430 on average for families.

Future Outlook

The escalating fuel prices at supermarkets, as corroborated by the CMA, in conjunction with the burgeoning cost of living, place immense financial strain on individuals and businesses. This situation is further complicated by the actions of specific retailers, underscoring the urgent need for a recommitment to fair pricing within the industry.

The government’s timely interventions are a beacon of hope, paving the way for a more equitable and competitive fuel market. But even as these corrective measures take effect, it’s crucial to remember that each one of us also has the power to make impactful changes in our personal financial landscapes.

One practical strategy to navigate this challenging climate could be reconsidering your current vehicle. Downgrading your car or swapping it for a cheaper model could lead to significant savings on fuel and other running costs, easing the financial burden.

At Marsh Finance, we’re committed to making this process as simple and accessible as possible. You can find out how much you could save on your car finance costs in just 30 seconds with our online application. This quick check won’t impact your credit score and could immediately show you the potential savings to be made.

Apply for car finance with Marsh Finance today.

With our car finance calculator, you can check how much you can borrow without impacting your credit score.

Representative Example

Rates from 12.9%

Representative example: borrowing £10,000 over 60 Months with a representative of 23.0% APR, an annual interest rate of 23.0% (fixed) and a deposit of £0.00, the amount payable would be 59 repayments of £269.58 per month, with one final repayment of £279.58 (which includes the option to purchase fee of £10.00), with a total cost of credit of £6,184.80 and a total amount payable of £16,184.80. Marsh Finance Limited are a lender, not a broker. 

Marsh Finance Limited are a lender, not a broker.

This is for illustrative purposes only and is not a quote or an offer of finance.