Price shock at bowser
PETROL prices in Geelong jumped almost 30 cents a litre overnight on Thursday, with motorists forced to pay almost $1.50 a litre at Coles outlets.
Meanwhile, other retailers were still selling petrol for just over $1.20 a litre yesterday morning, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warning petrol prices were set to rise.
ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said while price cycles were not illegal, retailers’ use of price cycles to maximise profits infuriated drivers.
“It’s not uncommon for drivers to notice prices jumping 20 cents or more in a very short period of time, and the price you see being charged on the way to work can be very different to the one on the way home,” Mr Keogh said.
“There’s a common perception that all retailers put their prices up or down at exactly the same time, but our research shows this isn’t the case, so if you see prices going up at one retailer, use an app to find another who hasn’t yet raised their price.
“For drivers who don’t use their cars that often, or drive as far, it is possible to time purchases at the low point of the cycle and pay below what it costs retailers.”
The ACCC has found the estimated yearly savings made by buying at the low point of the cycle are about $175 in Sydney, $150 in Melbourne and Brisbane, and $200 in Adelaide, while Perth motorists can save up to $520 a year.
The ACCC estimates if all motorists took advantage of the where and when to buy petrol, total potential annual savings would be about $260 million in Sydney, $220 million in Melbourne, $105 million in Brisbane and $75 million in Adelaide.
The cheapest petrol in Geelong yesterday morning was $1.21 a litre, with Torquay also recording $1.21.
Prices in Drysdale soared to $1.49 at three outlets, while Melbourne prices were also pushing past the $1.40 mark.
In 2015-16, Australia imported 31 per cent of its petrol from South Korea, 25 per cent from Singapore, 9 per cent from India, 16 per cent from Japan and 19 per cent from other countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and the US.
“Our advice is to stay active in the market. If you don’t need to fill up as often, keep an eye on the ACCC’s price cycle buying tips and combine this with petrol price comparison websites and apps to find cheap petrol in your area. Don’t wait for your petrol gauge to get to empty: if the cycle is at or near the bottom, buy petrol,” Mr Keogh said.
“Favouring the best-priced retailers sends a clear signal to petrol stations about what they need to do to get your business.”