Clive Maxwell has awkward questions for the oil companies

Meet the motorists’ new friend, Clive Maxwell. As the newly-appointed chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading, he has called for evidence into whether drivers are being ripped off when it comes to filling up their cars.

The Times reported this week, Maxwell mentioned the possibility that drivers are being subjected to ‘rocket and feather’ pricing. In other words, when prices rise, they go up like a rocket, and when they drop, well, you get the idea.

He told the Times: ‘There’s been a lot of public discussion and debate about this from motoring organisations, from different sorts of businesses involved in the supply chain, from consumer organisations – it’s across the piste.

‘Petrol is a market, a bit like finance, that’s very important for the functioning of the economy. It’s right that, if people have got concerns, we look at them.’

Understandably, the oil companies are reportedly less than impressed by Maxwell’s interest in their operations.His foray into their field of operation could lead to a formal enquiry, enforcement action or, possibly, a Competition Commission investigation.But someone needs to do something, petrol and diesel prices are close to the record levels they reached earlier this year, with not much sign of a drop in sight.