Asda has begun publishing local fuel prices at its forecourts online, becoming the first retailer to launch the service following pressure from the competition watchdog and MPs over widened profit margins at the pump.
The supermarket has confirmed today (3) that fuel prices at each filling station will be available alongside other key information on the Asda Store Locator pages at 10.30am each morning and will show the previous day’s closing price. Asda is continuing to develop a system that will show real-time pricing and expects this to be in place in the coming months.
“Asda is proud to be the price leader in the fuel and by sharing our prices online customers will be able to find the best value at the pumps before they get in the car,” stated Asda spokesperson.
Asda’s move came after came after the CMA found Asda had tripled its margins since before the coronavirus pandemic and retailers across the sector had pushed up the amount charged for diesel and petrol to unnecessarily high levels. CMA published a report last month saying that drivers were paying more for petrol and diesel than before the Covid pandemic because of “weakened” competition.
The CMA told the committee there had been a “significant change” in the supermarket’s pricing approach after its £6.8bn takeover by the billionaire Issa brothers and their private equity partner in 2021. Asda is now set to buy the UK arm of the Issas’ EG Group petrol forecourts business for £2.27bn.
The CMA has called on the government to introduce legislation to ensure fuel retailers provide up-to-date pricing for a new industry-wide comparison service.
A voluntary scheme under which all fuel retailers disclose daily prices to comparison apps hopes to launch by the end of this month. The CMA wants this to be followed by a legally backed compulsory regime with live pricing data, allowing drivers to more easily shop around for the best deals.
Sainsbury’s and Morrisons said they were working with the government to help implement price-comparison schemes. Tesco said it was in active discussions with the CMA about its price checker scheme, The Guardian reported.