§ Mr. Palmer
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, under the powers given to him by the Competition Act, he will refer the issue of petrol prices charged at motorway service stations to the Director General of Fair Trading, in view of the limited competition in these circumstances.
§ Mrs. Sally Oppenheim
No. These powers are intended to be used only exceptionally in cases of major public concern and a reference would be inappropriate in this case. I recognise that motorway service areas may tend to have higher overheads than other garages but I suggest that, as long as their petrol prices remain relatively high, customers should, wherever possible and practical, avoid buying petrol there. This will encourage the operators to bring their petrol prices into line with those prevailing elsewhere, where active competition has led to lower prices.