240 fuel complaints under investigation by CCPC

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is investigating more than 200 fuel pricing complaints, including “some allegations of collusion”, the Farming Independent has learned.

The complaints allege that gas stations have “exploited” the economic situation “to raise fuel prices and increase profits”.

It is also alleged that petrol stations ‘failed to pass on’ the reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel introduced by the government in March.

The CCPC has confirmed that at least two objections related to agricultural diesel have been filed.

It comes as the Agricultural and Forestry Contractors Association of Ireland (FCI) has called for a CCPC investigation into the agro-diesel supply sector due to wide price swings.

A CCPC spokesperson said: “Fuel prices have been a concern in general this year. At the beginning of March, the government introduced a reduction in excise duties on petrol and diesel.

“Subsequently, we received approximately 240 complaints from the general public regarding fuel pricing.

“Generally, these complaints alleged that gas stations failed to pass on the excise duty reduction in a timely manner, or that they exploited the economic situation to raise fuel prices and boost profits.

“Some complaints included allegations of collusion. We have also received a number of complaints about allegations that petrol stations have disabled roadside price displays.

“We are working with complainants and industry. We are unable to say when we will be able to give an update.

The CCPC confirmed that it had written to a trade association and two oil companies about antitrust risks of making public statements about future fuel price increases.

Last month, in a letter to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, FCI warned that “Irish agro-diesel quotations are the highest on record”, averaging €1.50/L (including VAT ) at week 24.

The letter said the sector had been hit by “a doubling of the cost of fuel from €240m to €480m for 2022”.

“The daily cost of filling a 1,000 liter diesel tank on a modern combine harvester will drop from €650 for the 2021 harvest (agrodiesel at €0.65/L including tax) to €1,500 for the 2022 harvest. without increasing machine output.

“This translates to an increase in fuel/ac cost from €6.5 to €15 for the combine harvester alone, based on production rates in harsh weather conditions typical for the Irish grain harvest.

“The cost of filling a 300 liter capacity diesel tank for a contractor’s tractor will drop from €195 in July 2021 to €450 this week.

“We call for ministerial intervention, at the highest level, and a government-led investigation by the CCPC into the agro-diesel supply sector.

“Market behavior in terms of large price swings signals to our members that there are supply chain issues that warrant further investigation.”

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