Asda Petrol fuel

Asda claims to have become the first supermarket to start publishing local fuel prices online, weeks after it was fined £60,000 by competition chiefs in their probe over supermarket profiteering on pump prices.

The Grocer understands the chances of the Competition & Markets Authority launching a temporary system involving all major supermarkets transparently displaying their up-to-date petrol prices to consumers online by the end of this month are “strong”, despite continuing doubts over how it will operate.

Asda was fined for failing to properly co-operate with the CMA’s inquiry, which found supermarkets had deliberately driven up profits by keeping fuel prices higher than they needed to have been during the cost of living crisis.

However, it is now among those leading efforts to help the CMA and the government set up the new system. The CMA probe findings recommended plans for a fuel finder scheme underpinned by new compulsory open data requirements on retailers.

The CMA has been trying to launch a temporary system by the end of August, though initial talks began in acrimony with a well publicised clash between supermarkets and transport secretary Grant Shapps.

It is understood subsequent talks have since progressed well, with a retailer working group looking at how a temporary system could work.

Last month the tech company PetrolPrices, which runs a fuel comparison site, told The Grocer it was “quietly optimistic” it would win the contract for the government’s fuel-finding scheme.

Asda’s move was described by the supermarket as “very much the first step” ahead of allowing “minute by minute” updates in the coming weeks.

“I think ‘plan’ is strong,” said one source involved in the talks. “However, the CMA have said they want a system but not clear on whose it would be, what it would entail, or what info they need from retailers.

“We’re looking at how we can basically give an open book to whomever wants it.

“We’re in active dialogue with CMA and fuel groups and other retailers and are happy to provide whatever they need for full transparency.”

The CMA said it was working with retailers and was helped by the “strong encouragement” it had received from ministers to get the temporary scheme up and running.