Social Democrats TD for Wicklow Jennifer Whitmore has called for an investigation into price-gouging at petrol pumps in Wicklow and across the country. Deputy Whitmore wrote to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) requesting that it opens an investigation into reports of price gouging and cartelism by motor fuel suppliers in the wholesale and retail markets.
Speaking on the issue, Deputy Whitmore says, “We cannot tolerate a situation in which certain retailers or suppliers may be engaging in cartel behaviour or price gouging. I have received dozens of representations from all over the country including in Wicklow, telling me the same thing – fuel prices in their respective localities are increasing in forecourts, a number of times a day, in unison. Home heating suppliers are increasing prices in the same fashion.
“Meanwhile, we have all seen prices in forecourts increase overnight, following the government announcement that it was cutting excise duty in fuel, leading to accusations of price gouging.
“We cannot tolerate a situation in which certain retailers or suppliers may be engaging in cartel behaviour, or price gouging, during a period of great peril for the country – when ordinary workers and families are already struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis. People in Wicklow must be protected from unnecessary rises in petrol and from the rising cost of living as a result.
“I have also raised it in the Dáil with the Taoiseach, and despite him agreeing it was a concern, he did not commit to ensuring an investigation was undertaken. In the absence of the government taking firm action on this matter, I myself wrote to the CCPC requesting that it opens an investigation into potential price-fixing and cartelism by motor fuel suppliers in the wholesale and retail markets.
“The CCPC has a remit to promote competition and consumer welfare and to investigate, enforce and encourage compliance with competition and consumer protection law. Given the extreme hardship that these huge price hikes are causing for consumers and businesses in Wicklow and all over the country, I am hopeful it will open an investigation swiftly.”