The founder of campaign group PetrolPromise has expressed his disappointment after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) decided against launching an investigation into the UK petrol and diesel market.

Campaign founder Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, said: "I am grateful to the OFT for their work. But it is disappointing that they will not hold a full inquiry. For example, they admit that there is a problem with poor competition in many towns but they are not taking action."

"Government figures show that in the summer of 2011 oil prices fell by 5.5%, but petrol and diesel fell by much less: only 1.5%. A similar thing happened in the spring of 2012. We need to be clear why there is a difference between government figures and what the OFT are saying," said Halfon.

The OFT began its information gathering exercise back in September in response to concern about the high pump price of petrol and diesel and a perceived lack of pricing transparency.

However, it confirmed today that "at national level, competition is working well in the UK road fuel sector" and therefore an investigation was not warranted.

Halfon also reiterated his support for the efforts of FairFuelUK to win a reduction in fuel duty. “Britain has the highest rate of diesel tax in Europe. That is not competitive, and it is bad for jobs and growth. I hope that the government will continue its record of cutting fuel duty to keep prices down, and put pressure on the oil companies to ease the burden on motorists," he said.

  • Halfon’s fuel transparency bill, which calls for the complete tax breakdown (duty and VAT) to be printed on all receipts issued by fuel retailers, is to receive a second reading in the House of Commons on 1 March. MT understands that this is likely to be no more than a formality at this stage of the bill’s progress through parliament.