Petrol stations ripping us off

Australians are paying premium prices for petrol because petrol stations have been working together to rip us off, says a study into fuel prices.

The study, Learning to Coordinate: A Study in Retail Gasoline, jointly conducted by The University of Melbourne and The University of Sydney, analysed 1.7 million petrol prices over 15 years.

It revealed that petrol stations have indeed been colluding to rip us off, boosting prices by 15 to 20 cents per litre on a Thursday, then decreasing prices by two cents per day until the next price rise.

Research revealed that some motorists could be paying up to $135 per year extra if they didn’t fill up on the cheapest day of the week.

University of Melbourne’s Dr David Byrne said that researchers noticed the price-boosting strategy in 2010.

“They were achieving price co-ordination, and making higher profit margins, without speaking (to each other) at all,” he said.

“We found a gradual, slow process where each station started to adhere to the pricing norms. Over time, we started to see margins rise over the entire cycle.

“This tacit collusion softened price competition, resulting in higher profits for all firms involved, and higher prices for consumers.”

The study, undertaken in Perth, was the first of its kind. It noticed that petrol profit margins increased by 700 per cent between 2010 and 2015.

This research underlines the importance for Australian drivers to closely monitor petrol prices to avoid being ripped off at the bowser.

“People need to pay attention to the prices, that’s the one thing you can do,” said Dr Byrne. “Get engaged in the petrol apps like Fuel Watch.”

Do you know which is the cheapest day to fill up your fuel tank?

Related articles:
Budgets set to take a beating
Petrol prices should be lower
Lock in the cheapest petrol

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
Contact:
LinkedIn
Email

RELATED LINKS

Australians set to be stung by rising petrol and power costs

Petrol and power costs set to rise - households warned to prepare for bill shock.

Even low petrol prices could be less

Motorists are being urged to shop around for cheaper fuel.

The new app letting drivers lock in the cheapest fuel

A new 7-Eleven apps lets drivers prepay for the cheapest fuel in their area.



SPONSORED LINKS

LOADING MORE ARTICLE...