A new government initiative to force petrol retailers to display daily fuel prices online is pointless.

That’s the view of Red Corporate Driver Training.

Competition and marketing

The plan was announced following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority. This looked at the huge rise in petrol and diesel forecourt prices over the last two years. While the conclusions effectively cleared retailers, especially supermarkets of any unfair price rises, the government wanted to encourage more competition in order to lower prices.

The publishing of live fuel prices was called for by Number 10. It expects major fuel retailers to share their live daily fuel prices online. This will give drivers access to a database which allows them to find the cheapest fuel in their location.

Hot air

While the scheme will not be compulsory, the Government expects all retailers to join. What’s more, it believes retailers should join the scheme in advance of any mandatory scheme being implemented at a later date.

It believes that drivers will use this to search out cheaper prices, even if it means driving for a few miles extra to fill up.

Won’t work

However, Red Corporate Driver Training’s CEO, Seb Goldin, does not believe the scheme will make much of a difference.

“This is the Government tinkering around the edges. The only way to reduce fuel costs for businesses is to get your employees to drive better.

“With better training fleets can take more proactive steps and take cost reduction strategies out of the hands of politicians.”

After its own Fuelsave course, Red found that a standard diesel van doing 30,000 miles per annum made an average fuel saving of 11.3% (improving from an average of 27mpg to 30mpg). That equated to an annual saving per vehicle of £734, based on diesel at 145p per litre.

Goldin believes that fleet managers need to realise that “economical driving is still a hugely important skill.”