Proof that petrol stations are colluding to rip us off

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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?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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29 Comments

Total Comments: 29
  1. 0
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    The local Coles Fuel Station has had diesel at $136.99 for almost two years now and the overpaid still just do the shopping and rock in there to fill up.

    Must be earning a heap of money is all I can say about those happy to pay top dollar.

    I drive 15 minutes away and fill up for $122.90 at an Independent.

  2. 0
    0

    I live in a country town about 40ks from a large regional centre and the fuel prices here are fairly steady and seldom go up or down. It’s quite often cheaper to fill up here than it is in the large town.

  3. 0
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    Wow this is news to us all. If the report has facts to substantiate these claims of collusion why hasn’t the ACCC taken action?
    Another useless organisation set up to not take action where there is no political advantage.

    Why is Australia the only country to have daily petrol price fluctuations?

    Don’t we have only one or two companies refining oil and supplying the rest? The price of the fuel at the pump is the same no mater what the brand.

    • 0
      0

      I agree. I can drive 15 minutes in many directions from my house and find variances of up to 25 cents per litre. Not good enough.

    • 0
      0

      Sorry 4b2….but the oil companies have been this for years…what if all cars were left home and people found an alternative way to work, or only filled up once a month…the oil companies would find business would drop off, so the price would have to come down, to attract the customers back…….another thing…who in these companies is making big bucks, because it’s pure greed…..

  4. 0
    0

    everyone in Australia has known this for years, everyone except the ACCC paper tiger

  5. 0
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    Even with the so called discount from Woolworths & Coles,Tasmanians are paying top price everyday – no price cycle down here.

  6. 0
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    The ACCC is only about job’s for mates of Polititians, they are another NATO.
    You can use the cheap fuel outlets IF you trust there fuel, a friend did a mileage test, the cheap fuel did NOT take him as far as the BP etc.
    Me, I use the BP, get a double dose of Velocity points and know I have good fuel and a freebie in points.
    Cheapest day for fuel, no such thing, there is a most expensive day for fuel, here in Tas I reckon it would be Fri Sat and Sun, along with all holidays. Much like the price fixing IGA supermarkets who quite often have TWO supermarkets in ONE small town…..I believe we call it progress nowadays lmao

  7. 0
    0

    The ACCC is only about job’s for mates of Polititians, they are another NATO.
    You can use the cheap fuel outlets IF you trust there fuel, a friend did a mileage test, the cheap fuel did NOT take him as far as the BP etc.
    Me, I use the BP, get a double dose of Velocity points and know I have good fuel and a freebie in points.
    Cheapest day for fuel, no such thing, there is a most expensive day for fuel, here in Tas I reckon it would be Fri Sat and Sun, along with all holidays. Much like the price fixing IGA supermarkets who quite often have TWO supermarkets in ONE small town…..I believe we call it progress nowadays lmao

  8. 0
    0

    In Canberra prices haven’t varied on a weekly basis for over 6 years, we just get ripped off all the time. On a recent trip to Sydney the average price for unleaded was 117.9 in Canberra it was 141.7.

    • 0
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      you get paid a lot more in Canberra

      full of over paid public servants living off the taxpayer

      so you pay a couple of extra bucks for a full tank – hard to feel sorry

    • 0
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      It’s not just Canberra that has the massive prices. Here in Albury/Lavington, our prices have hit the 148.9 cpl at the ‘Big’ stations recently. They have come down quite a bit, but still are 15-20 cpl dearer than the independents.

    • 0
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      You obviously don’t know much about Canberra. The Politicians and top public servants are the ones that have unnecessarily high income. but there are a large portion of people here that are on low to average wages example shop assistance’s, cleaners . health care workers in retirement villages and many others . so before you go shooting off your mouth about high wages in the ACT may be you should look into the ordinary people in Canberra. Also the media needs to stop saying Canberra does this and that and say politicians are the ones that do this and that

  9. 0
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    We used to get unleaded petrol cheaper in the Tweed area but since late last year it stopped coming down & now stays around the $1.38 mark. On the gold coast at some stations it reduces in the cycle but not in our area. Totally unfair

  10. 0
    0

    Anyone know why the Northern Territory is not included in the Australian Fuel Price Watch please?
    I’m paying $1.54 a litre for pulp

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