Skip advert
Advertisement

Live local fuel prices coming to your sat-nav or smartphone

The Government is consulting on compulsory fuel price ‘live updates’, making it easy for drivers to shop for the cheapest fuel

Fuel station

The Government has published a proposal that will force fuel retailers to publish their current prices for petrol and diesel, updating the information ‘live’ online within 30 minutes of any price changes.

The info will be collected by a body appointed by the Government, in a format that’s shareable via car sat-nav systems, smartphone apps or websites, making it possible for drivers to instantly identify the cheapest fuel prices in their locality, or even if they’re planning a longer trip to unfamiliar areas.

The announcement by the department for energy security and net zero is the next step in the Government’s response to last year’s report by UK competition watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA calculated that profiteering by supermarkets during the oil crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 poured an extra £900 million into supermarket coffers that year alone. While there was no breach of law, the big four supermarkets were judged to have failed to have acted competitively by collectively choosing to hike margins by an average of 6p instead of fighting each other for drivers’ custom.

Advertisement - Article continues below

“This freely available data will enable tech companies to develop new ways for the UK’s 41.2 million drivers to search for the cheapest fuel while on-the-go - via everyday mobile apps, online mapping platforms, journey planning tools, price comparison websites and in-car devices,” a statement from the department says, adding that a similar scheme implemented in Queensland, Australia saw drivers save an average of £48 ($93 Aus) per year, by making it easier for them to shop around for fuel.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

While the Government seeks industry feedback on its latest proposal, twelve of the largest fuel retailers - including all four of the major supermarkets - are already signed-up to a voluntary scheme sharing daily prices.

“Our work on competition and transparency is working. Drivers are now paying the lowest average price at the pump for two years,” says energy security secretary Claire Coutinho. “Forcing retailers to share live information on their prices within 30 minutes of any change in price will put motorists back in the driving seat and bring much-needed competition back to the forecourts.”

Founder of the FairFuelUK campaign Howard Cox has also welcomed the developments, pointing out that profit per litre for petrol and diesel has increased massively since before the Covid pandemic. 

“I am delighted that a PumpWatch consumer pricing watchdog will roll out with teeth to protect the UK’s millions of hard-pressed drivers from perennial profiteering by the fuel supply chain at the pumps,” he says.

AA spokesman Edmund King has also warmly welcomed the new government initiative: “The brazen price disparity of sometimes 10p a litre or more between neighbouring towns had to end. Pumping up profits by hanging on to the savings from lower fuel costs while consumers, businesses and inflation were denied the relief was quite simply unforgivable,” he said. 

Click here to find out the best way to currently find the chepest petrol and diesel near you...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

“Bleak picture” as 130,000 cars were stolen in the UK last year with 77% of cases never solved
Thief breaking in to car
News

“Bleak picture” as 130,000 cars were stolen in the UK last year with 77% of cases never solved

The latest Office of National Statistics data showcases how as many as 350 vehicles are stolen in the UK every day
25 Jul 2024
Now you can buy your next Ferrari with Dogecoin
Ferrari 296 GTS and Assetto Fiorano
News

Now you can buy your next Ferrari with Dogecoin

Ferrari buyers can use Dogecoin, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to purchase a supercar in the UK
24 Jul 2024
Car washes targeted by Rwanda scheme staff reassigned to combat illegal workers
Man cleaning a BMW
News

Car washes targeted by Rwanda scheme staff reassigned to combat illegal workers

As many as 1,000 Immigration Enforcement staff will now focus on tackling businesses exploiting illegal foreign labour
22 Jul 2024
M25 closures 2024: No full weekend closures until 2025 but motorway to shut through autumn
Map displaying the closed stretch of M25 between J10 and J11
News

M25 closures 2024: No full weekend closures until 2025 but motorway to shut through autumn

The M25 is open after a series of three full weekend closures this year, but drivers should prepare for more disruption as more shorter closures are s…
20 Jul 2024

Most Popular

Best small SUVs to buy 2024
Best small SUVs - header image
Best cars & vans

Best small SUVs to buy 2024

There's a huge range of small SUVs out there, so we’ve picked out the very best
22 Jul 2024
Car Deal of the Day: brand-new VW ID.7 EV with 381-mile range for less than you’d expect
Volkswagen ID.7 - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: brand-new VW ID.7 EV with 381-mile range for less than you’d expect

If you want an electric car that can go the distance, then maybe you should consider our Deal of the Day for 23 July
23 Jul 2024
New Skoda Enyaq 50 brings £2,000 price cut to popular electric family SUV
Skoda Enyaq 50 - front tracking
News

New Skoda Enyaq 50 brings £2,000 price cut to popular electric family SUV

The new Enyaq 50 and Enyaq 50 Edition are available to order now, with prices starting from £36,970
22 Jul 2024