Monday, August 06, 2012

Mark Garnier petrol prices

As mentioned last year I've found myself signed up to our MP's email newsletter. Beyond the hypocritical front page where our Conservative MP vows to fight our Conservative County Council on the matter of downgrading Kidderminster Hospital despite his complete lack of say in the matter; I found my eye drawn to the petrol price 'scandal'. Essentially from time-to-time our news fixates on the fact that a chain-store in Wyre Forest is selling petrol at a higher price than outside the district.

Despite explaining things twice, I'll add some hard figures to things. As the Tesco was mentioned I'll deal with them. The Tesco in Kidderminster store and station have a rateable value of £2,080,000. The Tesco in Cradley Heath a rateable value of £2,000,000. At this year's multiplier of 45.8p/£ the Kidderminster branch has to pay an extra £36,640 per year.

As I've said before nation-wide stores are allowed to charge different prices in different places if their running costs are higher.

Okay they're charging 4p/litre more and I agree that's excessive, but there's a lot of implying that something dodgy is going on. The problem isn't with the businesses - they're in competition within the local area; the problem is in the rules that govern how they compete.

The current EU Competition Article 82 is pointless and next to useless it's more concerned with businesses selling goods at different prices between States and only if they're "dominant". Petrol stations in one UK district does not count as a different State from another UK district; if there's more than one such station owned by different companies it's not dominant either.

We need a UK law similiar to the US Robinson-Patman Act to geographic price discrimination an offence. Who can create such a thing - why our government of course of whom our current MP is a member.