PUMPED UP Petrol station bosses will have just 30 MINUTES to change rip-off pump prices or be slapped with a fine

FORECOURT bosses will be given just 30 minutes to change their rip off pump prices or be slapped with a fine, The Sun can reveal.

The final plans for a new Pumpwatch regulator will be unveiled in the next two weeks amid continued profiteering by petrol stations and supermarkets.

Harry Cole grilled Claire Coutinho tonight in our Sun Cabbie Grant Davis' taxi
Harry Cole grilled Claire Coutinho tonight in our Sun Cabbie Grant Davis' taxiCredit: Arthur Edwards / The Sun
Drivers have been struggling with rocketing prices at the pumps recently
Drivers have been struggling with rocketing prices at the pumps recentlyCredit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The body will monitor petrol and diesel prices in real time between competing forecourts to make sure Britain’s 37 million drivers are getting the fairest price.

Those that do not comply or continue to charge rip off prices will face fines, although the exact levels are still to be decided.

Pumpwatch was unveiled by Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho in January to the delight of campaigners - but so far it has been on a voluntary basis.

Now her department is poised to unveil the next phase of the scheme, to bring firms who have continued to rip off drivers to heel.It comes as Claire Coutinho...

  • ADMITTED her flagship home insulation scheme has been “slow on the uptake”
  •  HIT BACK at our Sun cabbie as the pair became locked in fiery feud
  •  WARNED meddling Euro judges to stay the hell out of countries’ climate policies
  •  PROMISED mini nuclear reactors will begin to be rolled out across the country within the next ten years
  •  REJECTED calls to bring back fracking to the UK to help energy security
  •  BLASTED Labour for going too fast on Net Zero risking a “made in China” economy”
  •  WARNED ministers could follow the USA and slap Chinese electric car imports with 100 per cent tariffs

An Energy Department source said: "Drivers should be getting the cheapest price at the pump.

"We are cracking down on the petrol station bosses who are not passing on savings, with retailers being forced to share real time prices every 30 mins, or face fines."The RAC said the average retailer margin — the difference between what firms pay for fuel and the pump price — has been above 18p per litre for diesel since May 7 and is nearly 12p per litre for petrol.

The long-term average for both fuels is 8p.

The RAC believes if retailers charged “fairer” margins, the average price of a litre of petrol and diesel would be around 145p, down from the current prices of 150p per litre for petrol and 157p per litre for diesel.

You can watch Never Mind the Ballots on the Sun's YouTube channel and thesun.co.uk.

Last night Howard Cox of FairFuelUK, who has been campaigning for Pumpwatch, said “greedy fuel supply chain businesses know full well they are arrogantly untouchable… their voluntary participation in the scheme was unsafe.”

He demanded “tough financial penalties for the decades of relentless profiteering by wholesalers and oil firms at the expense of motorists, hauliers and the economy.”

Drivers have recently been hit by hikes at the pumps, with the cost of filling up now £5.50 more expensive than in January.

How to live-check petrol prices

MOTORISTS will be able to live-check fuel prices across the UK by the end of the year, The Sun revealed earlier this year.

More than 41million drivers will get free details on where to buy the cheapest petrol and diesel using the Pumpwatch scheme.

The Pumpwatch site will display and update pump prices every 30 minutes — increasing competition among service stations and driving down costs.

This could save drivers 3p per litre on fuel by helping them find the best deal at the pump. 

Ministers will discuss with comparison sites, the AA and RAC how best to share data across websites, apps, in-car devices and maps.

This freely available data will enable tech companies to develop new ways for the UK’s 41.2 million drivers to search for the cheapest fuel while on-the-go.

You can do this via everyday mobile apps, online mapping platforms, journey planning tools, price comparison websites and in-car devices.

A similar statewide scheme in Queensland, Australia saw drivers save on average $93 (£48) per year, by making it easier for them to shop around for fuel. 

Pumpwatch believes forcing retailers to be transparent will help drive down prices by reigniting competition and empowering drivers to find the best deals.

Petrol prices rose by 2p in April to 149.9p, while diesel rose by 2p to 157.7p, the RAC said.It was largely due to heightened tensions in the Middle East — which briefly sent oil prices surging before easing again — and a weakening Pound against the dollar.

The RAC has accused fuel retailers of fattening their profits by being fast to hike prices when oil rises and slow to reduce them when it falls.

The driving group also called on regulators to tackle a “postcode lottery” on forecourt pricing.

Its analysis shows there is a 36p difference between Asda’s cheapest garage — which charges 139.7p a litre — and its most expensive at 175.9p.It's hard to predict what will happen to petrol prices, as there are many factors affecting global oil prices.

But the government has previously put pressure on petrol station bosses to stop treating hard-up drivers as “cash cows” 

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