Government Leans on Fuel Price Comparators for PumpWatch App

The UK government is bringing together price comparison sites to share data for the benefit of its new PumpWatch mobile app

Asda Petrol Station

Fuel price comparison sites have been brought in by the UK government to help with the effectiveness of the new PumpWatch app.

The app was announced earlier this year, and aims to make it easier for motorists in the UK to find the best deal on fuel. A full launch is hoped for within 2024, with prices updated every half-hour. It is hoped that, by increasing transparency, PumpWatch will help to lower fuel prices by increasing competition.

The comparison sites, which include the RAC and the AA, were invited to meet with the Minister for Energy Affordability and Skills, Amanda Solloway, on Monday 11 March. The meeting came after the Spring Budget was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, in which it was confirmed that fuel duty will remain frozen for the next 12 months, continuing the 5p cut that was introduced in 2022.

Following the meeting, Ms. Solloway, said: “The government is already working to bring down fuel prices and we will all see the difference of the 5p fuel duty cut extension at the pumps. 

“We want fuel prices at your fingertips, refreshed within 30 minutes of changing, so everyone can save when filling up their tank – even when visiting an area they don’t know.  

“The government and tech firms are working together to make sure PumpWatch is a success, so we can put hard-earned pounds back in families’ pockets.”

Jack Cousens, Head of Road Policy at the AA, said: “What the government and the CMA is achieving with its pump-price transparency scheme is fast on the road to what the AA has called for and envisaged for more than a decade. For years, European countries have provided their motorists with the ability to check pump prices wherever they go and thus spur competition. The UK is now getting there.

“Bringing tech firms into the picture will help that process and lead to innovative use of the price data. An example of innovation is the Fuel Price Checker in Northern Ireland that allows drivers to see the towns offering the cheapest fuel. However, there is so much more that can be done with the data and bringing in the digital experts will hopefully unlock that.”

As well as the RAC and AA, and were also invited to the meeting. CEO Steve Dukes said: “Fuel has become one of the biggest expenses for drivers as prices have remained high for the past few years. This, paired with rising insurance and maintenance costs, along with the general cost of living increasing has made it harder for many drivers to run their car. In fact, recent research shows that 1 in 5 (19%) UK drivers are using their car less due to the cost of living.

“Encouraging fuel retailers to share up-to-date pricing information through the PumpWatch initiative will make a huge difference to drivers who are trying to manage costs. Naturally they may be tempted to go to their closest station. But being able to research cheaper pumps nearby could save a considerable amount of money when filling up. We hope that drivers having this transparency will only encourage retailers to be more competitive with their prices where they can.” Managing Director, Andrew Watson, added: “We welcome the news earlier in the week to continue the 5p cut in fuel duty rates for a further 12 months supporting UK drivers with rising prices. The upcoming Pumpwatch legislation scheme, coupled with this fuel duty support is much needed for motorists up and down the country.

“We’ve been helping drivers save money at the pumps since 2005. I know our 2 million users will welcome the changes PumpWatch will bring in making fuel prices more up to date, allowing consumers to make the best decision for themselves.”

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