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Warn petrol stations about price fixing as tax cuts reduce costs

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The State’s competition supervisory agency has sternly warned against fixing prices for the agency that represents petrol stations.

Gasoline and diesel retailers have been advised that they may engage in anticompetitive practices, Irish independence have learned.

It comes at a time when the price of reserve fuel increases almost daily due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Auto dealers have accused some petrol retailers of driving up diesel and petrol prices ahead of the move to cut excise taxes on diesel to 15c/litre and petrol to 20c/litre.

Some of the increases are equivalent to cuts in gasoline and diesel taxes.

The Irish Petroleum Retailers Association (IPRA) recently advised that pump prices will rise again due to the war.

The association’s spokesman David Blevings said in a press release last month: “Increasing global prices will lead to increased wholesale and retail fuel costs.

“Retailers have no choice but to pass these costs on to consumers as they are all independent businesses who must make a profit to survive and pay expenses, including including employee salaries.

This prompted the Competition and Consumer Commission (CCPC) to write to IPRA, one of two trade bodies on filling stations.

It is unusual for a trade body to predict price increases in the event that it is interpreted as a price signal, an anti-competitive behavior that is unusual for the CCPC.

The letter to the gas seller’s trade body said: “The CCPC is concerned that statements of this nature by an association such as IPRA may, in some cases, violate relevant provisions of the Act. legislation of 2002 and/or the TFEU.”

This relates to the Competition Act 2002 and the Treaty on the Operations of the European Union (TFEU), which set out EU rules and policies.

This is because commenting on future pricing intentions can become a ‘price signal’ under certain circumstances that the signal allows all businesses in the a sector acting together to raise their prices.”

The competition watchdog says price quotes can be a form of anti-competitive practice known as “coordinated practice” where all competitors feel they can simultaneously raise prices without Not afraid of losing business to competitors.

The trade body has been told that each garage should decide on its own pricing as costs rise, and that IPRA should “refrain from making similar public statements about future increases”.

The retailer’s agency has been warned that the CCPC may launch a formal investigation into it or take legal action.

When asked about the warning, IPRA spokesman Mr Blevings, who issued the statement, said: “We are in direct communication with the CCPC regarding this matter.”

Crude oil has hit a 14-year high, but there is much criticism of petrol retailers for being too quick to raise prices, with some happening more often than they get the source. new bow.

Earlier this week, Taoiseach Micheal Martin told Fianna Fáil TDs that price fixing and profiteering is “completely unacceptable”.

AA Ireland figures show the average driver is paying an extra €1,000 in running costs every year as of 2020.

James Murray, of Murray Ambulance Service, based in Castlebar, Co Mayo, said if the fuel price trend continued his business would not be viable.

“We have 18 vehicles operating across the country,” he said. “In the summer of 2020, our weekly fuel bill will be at 2,500 euros.

“Now it’s close to €4,500, but it’s hard to sustain it all, the price has changed a lot in the past week. Our fuel cost as a percentage of sales is usually 13pc.

“Last week when we tested it was 19pc and now until this week it is heading towards 25pc.

“If it continues as it is, we will have to draw a line. If you start losing money, you can’t sustain it, that’s the first rule of business.”

Fuel prices continued to fluctuate across the country yesterday.

Highest price found by Irish independence yesterday was at Circle K in Rochestown, Co Cork, where diesel costs €2.22 a liter and gasoline €2.13. By late afternoon, oil prices had clearly fallen across the country, with most prices recording below €2 a liter.

In Dublin on Wednesday and yesterday, a fuel survey showed a large disparity between petrol and diesel prices.

Texaco in Skerries sold both of these fuels for even €2 a liter on Wednesday – the cheapest of the six expected in neighboring communities surveyed on Wednesday. But yesterday, gasoline increased to € 2.04 and diesel to € 2.14.

At Donabate, Maxol sells petrol for € 2.04 a liter and diesel for € 2.09. Yesterday, the price of petrol fell 10c to just under 1.95€ and for diesel to 1.99€ and nine tenths of a cent for diesel.

In response to media queries and ongoing comments on social media, Circle K Ireland released a statement defusing price-fixing claims.

“We categorically deny the allegations that the petrol and diesel price changes were made as a result of the Government’s announcement yesterday of the reduction of the excise tax,” the fuel company said.

“Our prices are set in line with domestic and international market developments and wholesale market costs.

“This was the case yesterday and the same process is followed whenever there is a change in price.

“The current stage we are in is unprecedented with the invasion of Ukraine having a significant impact and resulting in price pressures, which is a challenge for all fuel retailers. ”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/warning-to-petrol-stations-on-price-fixing-as-duty-cuts-bring-costs-down-41434104.html Warn petrol stations about price fixing as tax cuts reduce costs

Fry Electronics Team

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