HC Deb 24 April 1986 vol 96 c219W
Mr. Bendall

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the outcome of his consideration of possible action on petrol prices under the competition legislation.

Mr. Channon

The petrol market is still adjusting to the recent falls in the price of crude oil and is in a state of disequilibrium. The wide range of prices at the pumps (currently a spread of some 25p a gallon) suggests a considerable degree of local competition; and in general prices are now below levels prevailing before the budget.

These developments in the petrol retail market suggest that Government action on prices at present would be premature. However the Director General of Fair Trading will continue to monitor developments in this market closely: and I will hold in reserve the possibility of using my powers under section 13 of the Competition Act 1980 or taking other action under competition legislation if this appears to be justified by market conditions.