Grant Shapps to meet supermarket bosses over ‘sky high’ petrol prices


Supermarket bosses will meet Grant Shapps on Monday after the energy secretary pledged to hold “rip-off retailers” to account for charging motorists “sky high” prices for fuel.

Executives from Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s – as well as those from the fuel providers BP, Shell and Esso – will come under pressure to explain why they have failed to pass on savings to customers after a drop in their own wholesale fuel costs.

“I want to now hear how they are going to fix this,” Shapps said in the Sun newspaper over the weekend. “I will be telling them to do the right thing and immediately end any attempt to overcharge at the pumps.”

Shapps earlier this month accused petrol retailers of using motorists as “cash cows” after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that some retailers had been charging drivers 6p a litre more for fuel, as they took advantage of reduced competition arising from the Covid crisis.

The energy minister said this had translated to £75m a month in extra revenue for the four supermarket fuel retailers in 2022 alone.

The CMA proposed that retailers be required to provide live pricing data, allowing drivers to more easily shop around for the best deals. Shapps is expected to tell the fuel retailers he intends to pass legislation to enforce it, and warn that they must act now or face the full force of the upcoming law.

Petrol price rises have been blamed for putting further strain on households at a time when the UK government is struggling to curb inflation, which was 8.7% in May – still well above the Bank of England’s 2% target.

The Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, said in June: “If you look at petrol prices, some sellers of petrol have possibly been charging too much for it”. He said alleged greedflation – whereby companies use high inflation as a cover to raise prices even further to increase profit margins – was “having very difficult effects” across the country.

Shapps said at the weekend that he would appoint a public organisation to monitor UK road fuel prices and alert the government if the cost rose “so we can step in on any unacceptable attempt to rip off customers”.

“We will not ­hesitate to act.”