The UK Government’s new PumpWatch initiative aims to make fuel prices available to the public through price comparison sites and map apps. Fuel retailers will have to share prices within 30 minutes of changes under the proposed rules.

Ministers met with leaders from top motoring sites like RAC and The AA today to discuss sharing the new fuel price data. The new initiative aims to increase competition and reduce prices at the pumps by empowering consumers to find the cheapest options in their vicinity.

Amanda Solloway, Minister for Energy Affordability and Skills, explained: “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.”

This initiative follows the government’s commitment to support motorists in the Spring Budget 2024. Fuel duty has been frozen for an additional 12 months, extending the 5p fuel duty cut and preventing any increase in line with inflation. This move has saved the average car driver around £250 over the past three years, amounting to £13 billion in total.

Partnering with The AA, Confused.com, Go.Compare, PetrolPrices.com, and RAC, the government is ensuring that PumpWatch data will be clear and easy to understand. This information could benefit over 41 million drivers across the UK, aiding them in saving money regardless of their location.

Jack Cousens, Head of Roads Policy at The AA, commented: “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.”

Recent Confused.com research found that 1 in 5 (19%) UK drivers are using their car less due to the cost of living. Steve Dukes, CEO of Confused, highlighted the significant impact PumpWatch will have on helping drivers manage their expenses.

“Fuel has become one of the biggest expenses for drivers as prices have remained high for the past few years,” Dukes said. “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.”

The government aims to have PumpWatch fully operational by the end of 2024.

(Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash)

See also: European smart gas meters penetration hit 45% in 2023

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Tags: apps, data, fuel price, fuel price checker, government, mobility, pumpwatch, smart mobility, transport, uk

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