Do petrol prices rise faster than they fall? Evidence from the UK retail and wholesale petrol sectors

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Abstract

This study investigates the presence of price asymmetries in the UK retail and wholesale petrol sectors over the period of January 2020- July 2022. The scope of this research is to explore whether petrol prices rise faster than they fall according to changes in input costs, namely fuel and international crude oil prices for the retail and wholesale sector respectively. As the time sample considers the shocks of covid-19 restrictions and rising inflation, the presence of structural breaks is assumed which may contribute to asymmetric behaviour. The Autoregressive Distributive Lag (ARDL) approach is implemented in the pricing equation of the model by formulating four versions for each sector, according to the presence of asymmetries and price-cost margins. The results provide significant evidence of price asymmetries in the retail petrol sector; however, such asymmetries are less pronounced over high margin periods. The wholesale sector is found to be more flexible to changes in crude oil prices as asymmetries are less persistent throughout the sample. Therefore, consumers face rigid petrol prices because of retail firms’ decisions, which should be the focus of policy makers.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00326
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of Economic Asymmetries
Volume28
Early online date15 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Petrol prices
  • Crude oil prices
  • Asymmetries
  • Retail petrol sector
  • Wholesale fuel sector
  • UK

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