MP speaks up for East Cambs residents hit by high petrol prices

Parlimentary Small Shops Award, for Budgens at Soham, (l-r) Jonathan James and MP Jim Paice

Parlimentary Small Shops Award, for Budgens at Soham, (l-r) Jonathan James and MP Jim Paice - Credit: Archant

MP Sir Jim Paice spoke up in Parliament this week about his frustration at the higher prices East Cambridgeshire residents have to pay for petrol which, in some cases, was as much as 6p per litre more expensive than garages just 20 miles away.

The Jet petrol station, on the A10 Ely Bypass.

The Jet petrol station, on the A10 Ely Bypass. - Credit: Archant

Sir Jim spoke in a debate last Thursday prompted by the news that the European Commission is investigating allegations that oil companies including BP and Shell have been fixing prices for more than a decade.

Sir Jim said: “My constituents in South East Cambridgeshire cannot accept that the market is working fairly. In our area we pay a higher price for petrol and diesel than in most other parts of mainland England, yet only 20 miles away, the same retailers and supermarkets are selling road fuel for 1p, 2p, 3p, or in some cases 5p, a litre less. That cannot be a fair marketplace.”

According to, unleaded petrol prices at Tesco in Ely on Tuesday were 133.9p, the Downfields BP garage in Soham was 132.9p, the Witcham Toll Jet was 134.9p and the BP in Witchford Road was 134.9p

On the same day, petrol at the Tesco and Morrisons supermarkets in Wisbech was 130.9p and at the Jet garage, in Lynn Road, Downham Market, it was 129.9p.

Meanwhile, in King’s Lynn, there were five petrol stations charging just 128.9p for their unleaded petrol on Tuesday, some six pence per litre cheaper than at BP in Ely.

The UK average price for unleaded petrol on Tuesday, according to, stood at 133.53p per litre, with diesel at 138.23p.

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According to the comparison website, the cheapest price across the country was 127.9p for unleaded petrol and 133.9p for diesel. The most expensive was 146.9p and 150.9p respectively.

Sir Jim was assured by Energy Minister Ed Davey that the allegations of price fixing would be looked into “seriously and robustly”.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers’ Association, which represents forecourt owners and operators said: “Independent retailers hope this Europe-led investigation will help to provide the proper price transparency that consumers and businesses deserve and need.”