Games Petrol Companies Play

Do you have a different source?

The one linked is an equal weighted average of three spot markets. It is not the same as the Singapore price base used for Australian fuel.

I can’t follow how a change from $33 more than 12 months prior in April 2020 can account for the recent fluctuation as due to the price of crude.

It’s worth noting that other than the brief dip in April last year crude from late 2017 up till that date was more expensive than it is now! Albeit that we are not looking at the Singapore pricing in isolation.

The ACCC looking at the latest 3 months tells a different story.

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I think we are talking about 2 different things. The wholesale price of fuel is affected by Tapis oil price, amongst other things. The 7/14+ retail price cycle is determined by fuel distributors and isn’t influenced by day to day Tapis oil price changes. Trend in fuel prices or their average retail price (flattening short term price cycle) over time is influenced by Tapis oil prices.

The increase in petrol prices from around a $1 mid 2020 to around $1.50 today can be explained in part due to the almost three fold in Tapis crude oil price.


We are.

I was not referencing long term price changes, I was comparing the daily prices and ‘cycling’ at Costco versus branded (major and minor branded) outlets.


I think so too. There is little as might be implied in the longer term wholesale pricing to support the sudden recent jump in retail pricing.

A more detailed point of comparison weekly variances and and previous trends. It might help to seperate the two.

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It is interesting the Petrol Price Minus Tapis Crude Oil price is around 5c/L. As daily fluctuations are often greater than this, it suggests at time petrol is sold potentially below cost, while other times, significantly more than 5c/L above cost.

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The RACQ is complaining about fuel prices in SEQ.

Meanwhile, prices in Cairns vary from 135.7/L to 147.9/L fot U91.

Great to see the Deep North getting a fairer deal than BrisVegas.


An update.

Meanwhile, back in the Deep North.

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It’s still not $2.00 per litre for those who remember back 15 or so years. Enough to make one line up for an alternate fuel vehicle. BEV or PHEV anyone?


It never reached $2.00 in Cairns. The highest was still under $1.80.

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Whilst I can’t comment on the prices in Cairns, in other places the standard unleaded was around $1.80 and the premium variety around $2.00.

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More fun and games, and an eye watering price even with the cut in excise.

Is this price gouging by the fuel companies, or the economy catching up with us?

U91 today $2.16 at the boat harbour and holiday heaven, $2.20 further south on the highway, and a few holdouts as low as $1.76, (all prices rounded up because mostly the 0.1cpl difference is worth just 5c on a 50l tank).

Petrol Spy - Cheap Fuel Prices Near Me & Fuel Watch Map

Prices out west we’re still around the $1.80 mark, slightly more on the prime highway sites. Although for many of those locals diesel rules.

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We spent a week and counting in the Vic, NSW, and SA regions and 91 was roughly $1.85+/- everywhere while in ‘metro areas’ we have seen $1.75+/- to $2.15+/- area dependent.


The 22 cpl temporary reduction in fuel excise on the wholesale price of petrol is set to end from 29th Sept. The ACCC has a role to play on behalf of consumers. It has been reminded that the excise is on the wholesale cost of fuel and not the retail. Hence fuel stored in servo tanks on the 29th should still be sold at a lower price until stocks are used up.

The petrol companies are no strangers to being watched. Perhaps the reminder from government has come too late? Perhaps the fuel companies have a cunning plan?

It’s not yet the 29th. A preemptive move by the petrol companies, or just business as usual? The difference up to 40 cpl Friday afternoon. In one instance personally observed the same chain priced U91 153.9cpl (I took advantage) if heading south or 3km down the road heading north 193.9cpl. Just out of the PetrolSpy screen shot but evident from their competition.

Are the large chains already adjusting their pricing in part to avoid the ACCC being able to take any action based on an undue increase on the 29th Sept? Hopefully the ACCC is doing more than just watching. Certainly the leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament will be well aware. He lives just over the hill.

Will any in Federal Parliament even notice?


This move was always likely to happen. Something different to regular price hikes is that the spike is happening in all five mainland state capitals at the same time.

Due to self interest i.e. criticising the government, opposition MPs might. For others, only if a relative who doesn’t have a government issued fuel card advises them.

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On 24 Feb 2023 Costco Epping has been and remains at $1.827 for 98. The prevailing price at other servos is about $2.27 +/-. From petrolspy, and having just returned from Costco Epping it reflects the servos we drove by.

and 91

Note the spread between 91 and 98 at Costco is $0.10 while the others are $0.20~22. Costco does not sell 95.

Nothing to see according to the ACCC, just good honest competition among all the servos selling within a cent or so of each other within each ‘price set region’.


I agree that there is very limited competition but are they necessarily doing anything illegal? Do not all merchants check each other’s prices and stock before deciding on their own prices? Unless there is direct collusion where the vendors contact each other and set prices I can’t see there is much to be done. Price collusion has been proved in some cases in other industries but usually between few players in specialised markets IIRC.

I lived in Canberra and every public service payday was the peak fuel price and the few days beforehand the trough. The players didn’t need to collude as everybody knows when PS payday is.

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Apparently not and nothing was implied or suggested, just good honest competition Aussie style, complete with difficult to explain (based on supply and demand criteria) price cycles metro areas love but most regional areas have to do without.

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