MOTORISTS angry at Inverclyde's rip-off fuel prices are being asked to submit evidence as an investigation is launched into the scandal by a government watchdog.

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA), has started a formal investigation into the prices being charged by Tesco, Morrisons and BP locally compared to other places after being alerted to unfair charges here.

MSP Stuart McMillan wrote to the authority urging them to consider the district as a case study for its nationwide research into the fuel market after the Tele recently revealed how a study had demonstrated that local motorists pay more here than neighbouring areas and many other parts of Scotland.

Data has shown that the price gap is sometimes as wide as eight pence a litre and fed-up drivers have called for a boycott of local forecourts as a form of protest.

Mr McMillan says the CMA's investigation could be a breakthrough in the battle to finally level the playing field on petrol and diesel prices.

He had been angered at the lack of credible answers from suppliers over the disparity in charges.

The MSP said: "The response I’ve received from the CMA will be welcome news to my constituents who are utterly fed up of the rip off fuel prices in Inverclyde.

"It is absolutely ridiculous that people here can take a ferry across to Dunoon and see cheaper petrol prices than in Inverclyde over there.

"What Tesco and Morrisons are saying makes a mockery out of the people of Inverclyde.

"They have said continuously that prices are about competition, which is clearly not based on the current market conditions or consumer interest.

"As the data shows, they feel they can do what they want.

"But the days of 'greed is good' are over."

According to the CMA, the market study 'will consider the supply of road fuel in the UK, looking across the supply chain', analyse 'local and regional variations in the price', and consider 'any enforcement actions that may be necessary.'

Bosses at the watchdog want local motorists to submit information directly to them for investigation by emailing any evidence to them directly.

Mr McMillan says this will increase pressure on retailers.

He added: “Not only is the CMA going to take into consideration the situation locally, they’ve provided an email address that anyone can contact to highlight the local and regional variations in pump prices.

“If everyone who complained on social media or who has written to me about the fuel prices in Inverclyde contacted the CMA, that would generate a lot of evidence and emphasise how frustrated local people – and businesses, third and public sector organisations – are with how Tesco, Morrisons and BP garages are treating them.

“This is an opportunity for local people to take action themselves to try to deliver change, as the CMA have confirmed that they will consider enforcement actions that may be necessary to stop this cartel-style approach to fuel pump prices we see in Inverclyde.

"I hope that these measures will result in long-term positive outcomes."

Any local looking to submit evidence directly to the CMA, can do so by emailing:

The statutory time limit for a CMA Market Study is 12 months, however, the watchdog has stated its aims to complete its research 'well within' that, setting out its initial findings in autumn this year.