Petrol Prices a Disgrace?

Petrol stations pump the unleaded price up to over $1.70 a litre just in-time for Christmas and school holidays?

How is this allowed?

Shouldn’t the ACCC be doing something?

Someone in the community want to explain how this is allow?


          • @lordezekiel: I did know this, yes. We have individuals, governments, charitable organizations and some (few) small private companies.

            Publicly listed companies (and the vast majority of private companies) prioritize profits within the boundaries of the laws of the countries they operate in. That's what they're supposed to do.

  • +4

    Surprised by the general nonchalant attitude on this within the ozbargain community.

    I am with the OP on this.

    I see petrol being an essential necessity in modern life, same as electricity, water, internet service etc.

    What other service or products do you use which jacks up their pricing up to 30% overnight, at somewhat random though regular intervals, and AT the SAME time by all retailers.

    It's such an obvious and blatantly anti consumer act, yet everyone including the ACCC see nothing wrong with it.

    • +1

      What other service or products do you use which jacks up their pricing up to 30% overnight, at somewhat random though regular intervals, and AT the SAME time by all retailers.

      Nothing else you use depends on global markets the way that petrol prices are. You need to stop thinking about petrol prices like energy prices where the majority of the costs are in distribution and generation, which are very, very stable over time, but rather, more like buying shares. Similarly, your ISP is able to provide you with a stable price for your internet connection because NBN Co doesn't vary their line rental costs by the second.

      This has nothing to do with the petrol retailers you buy your fuel from. The worldwide petrol indices varies by the millisecond, just like share markets.

      It's such an obvious and blatantly anti consumer act, yet everyone including the ACCC see nothing wrong with it.

      Is it "anti consumer" for your share portfolio to go up and down in value too?

      That's what internationally integrated fuel markets are like. As part of my job, I followed petrol indices religiously day in, day out for years. Those changes flow through to what you pay at the pump.

      • Interestingly one of the best tools is the fuelcheck app that surprsingly the Libs in NSW implemented. I check it often to see trends and also watch certain local stations. When they increase prices I go to my local (mainly independent) and fill up.

        QLD has RACQ app but not as effective (although good)

      • +3

        Yeah oil prices go up and down 30% on a fortnightly basis and Woolies, Caltex, Shell, BP, United, Mobil etc are just passing on this costs as it happens.


        Just wanted to add, that pumping crude, refining it and shipping it are not new. This industry has been around and the process has been refined and streamlined for the past 50 or more years.

        The volatity of the market is no where near 30%, and it sure as hell doesn't yoyo up and down every few weeks.

      • I disagree that fuel companies price their petrol in line with crude prices. When crude is up, they're happy to jack it up the same day or the next, but when it comes off, they'll delay a repricing for a few days. It's the oldest trick in the book and they do it in broad daylight without repercussion.

        • You can disagree all you want, just stating something doesn't make it true.

          There's a reason why all the oil experts posting here are not employed in the sector - and it's not because their biased, knee-jerk assumptions based on looking at the price at their local petrol stations every now and again are too accurate…

          And for the millions of people who think scam means "something I don't like" - please look up the ACTUAL definition.

        • Sounds like banks with interest rates and variable rate loans…

      • Not sure generation costs are the best example. They fluctuate all over the place depending on which generators are actually generating, we just don't see it because we pay a fixed tariff based on our usage per kwh, rather than based on the actual costs. The differences in what they buy and what they sell are worn by the retailers or hedged.

    • +1


      • Remember the time when pink palace had the ‘pump and save’ specials! That was good ! Oh yeah

    • +1

      Petrol is not necessary to individual consumers. It is necessary to the supply chains to feed us but not us ourselves. This is a huge part of the problem of emissions in the west. Like many things people have gotten used to it's a luxury item that does nothing but make certain things easier, and most people abuse this beyond belief.

      Live somewhere less stupid and get rid of the car.

      • +1

        It is necessary to the supply chains to feed us…

        Live somewhere less stupid…

        Let that sink in a little bit

  • Petrol Spy helps find the cheapest fuel for me. Yesterday morning, whilst on a bike ride, one station was charging $1.75.9/litre of ULP91. 2kms down the road, it was $1.33.5/litre of ULP91. Use the app, vote with your "feet". Use the competitive prices to your advantage in true Ozbargain fashion.
    When it is cheap copy this savvy consumer. /s

    • +1

      Ok Stalin

  • +2

    It had been like this for years and most people already got used to it. We just fill up when it's $1.20-$1.30 and try to hold off when it's $1.50-$1.70. Sometimes we only fill up half a tank when out of cycle. We have a 55L tank and that would be the difference of about $15 each tank.

  • +1

    You should see New Zealand - they're past the $2 mark and it's normal over there.

  • how is this allowed? … biggest hike I've seen in my life

    You're either half blind or have a very short memory.

    See graphs below that show the petrol price cycle. Some of the other states will have falling prices this week.

    Does Woolworths and Coles charge everyday low prices like Aldi? Nope (only for some home brands, but they adopt a hi-lo pricing strategy for many of the branded products). Retailers can adopt any pricing strategy that maximises their profits as long as it's not anti-competitive, etc.

  • +1

    Have your family drive to you. Tell them fuel prices are too high.

  • -1

    whats next, pumpkins doubling in price before halloween, oh the outrage.

  • +1

    I feel the OPs frustration. I did play the game of price cycles with 20L X 4 Jerry cans to have a buffer till the next low in the cydle. But now I found the 7-11 app and haven't been hit with a "state" price high for about a year.

  • Petrol prices are not regulated, so pricing would only practically be illegal if there is a contract, arrangement, understanding or concerted practice that has the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition (or contravenes a cartel provision). Contracts, arrangements and understandings are very hard to show (ACCC v Leahy, Apco v ACCC), and it seems unlikely that the concerted practices provision would be activated here either. Prices are not disallowed merely because they may have increased.

  • I do FIFO, the regional towns I work at has fuel price at 150 every single day while Brisbane has the fuel cycle of 129-170 over the month.

  • +1

    It's so easy to game the petrol price cycle system anyway.

    At least the people who don't know any better and (unhappily?) pay the inflated $1.70 price peaks subside the cheap fuel for the rest of us.

    • I don't do this ^ (only drive 1-2x / month short trips so I don't care) but I'd suggest you all stop promoting / spilling the beans on whatever exploit you have, else it'll go mainstream and be shutdown.

      Don't be like Chimpanzees who find some food and start screaming out excitedly then have it taken away by others :p

      • Haha =)

        It's OK, I like dangling carrots but without revealing how you can eat the carrot.

        Nice analogy with the chimps

      • +2

        The exploit literally has its own thread.

  • +4

    has anyone told the op to move to Venezuela yet?


    allow me.

    Move to Venezuela.

  • +1

    In Adelaide the price jumped from $1.32 to $1.75 this week, but not at all stations. Some have kept the old price. Just how petrol can and should jump that much in price is a bit of a mystery that no one has ever answered.

    I use diesel and the prices here vary between $1.39 and $1.55 with no discounting cycle. Makes buying fuel at the cheaper price much easier.

    I however don't get this 'petrol price rises in time for Christmas' complaint. Christmas is nine days away and the discounting cycle will probably be at its lowest point then. Also most people I know drive far more for work every week than they drive around holiday times. Maybe it's the one 200km trip that freaks people out while they're doing 50km 5x a week and think they're driving less.

    • Just how petrol can and should jump that much in price is a bit of a mystery that no one has ever answered.

      How petrol prices "jump" (either up or down that is) is just like how shares "jump" in price.

      Whether petrol prices "should" jump is not a question we can answer because it is not a moral question. It's like asking whether it "should" rain. It's just something that happens.

      • +1

        Share prices move when a company delivers a great result, or their forward earnings are collapsing, or because someone released a rumour to affect the price.

        Did someone declare we're running out of oil on Friday? Did the world oil price jump 30%? No.

    • +2

      Just how petrol can and should jump that much in price is a bit of a mystery that no one has ever answered.

      Petrol prices follow an Edgeworth pricing cycle, which is an expected outcome of an oligopoly setting.

      • I've observed petrol prices in a few other countries, like Japan. They have cozy oligolopies too, yet prices didn't jump 30% in a day on a regular basis. Maybe they're all colluding with each other instead…

  • +2

    Not many essential products we buy fluctuate in price like fuel. So many people posting that “if you don’t like the price don’t buy it” and it’s not essential. Many people across Australia rely on private cars as the only form of transportation with no alternative.
    If prices went to $4-5 a litre I’m sure the people saying “catch a bus” “ride a bike “ or if you don’t like the price don’t buy it would change their attitude.
    No law against price rises but I agree it is a disgrace and a pure money grab when the prices stay high for 5 days and only for a few days on the low cycle.

  • What's worst is that petrol prices differ signicantly by suburbs within Sydney.
    For example, The Hills suburbs may be 40-50c more expensive than along Parramatta road, which is 10-20mins away at the closest exit.

  • Boo! It’s all defined by taxes

    • It may be influenced by taxes but it is in no way defined by taxes as our fuel excise does not fluctuate according to moon cycle.

      • Yeah the big oil company tax. Dinosaurs make em, they pump em

  • yeah pretty crap to have this so called 'cycle'. Only solution we've got by is, if there's a Costco nearby, go and fill up there since they don't do cycles… and 7/11 app to lock in at the bottom.

    Filled in this morning at 1.78 and had it locked for 1.27…. cool saving of ~$24 filling 56 litres. I'll take that saving before I blow it on an unnecessary cocktail on a Tuesday night.

  • +2

    Just wanted to add that Australia has one of the cheapest prices of fuel out of all the developed nations.

    So we're hardly getting a bad deal.

    • +1

      FYI, those numbers are not reflective of price paid by the end consumer.

      the retail price of gasoline is different - horse's mouth.

  • -1

    Where's @TightArse with the $5 Caltex cashback when you need him?

    BTW the prices around me (Melb) have been cycling from $1.39 to $1.70 for the last year. This is not new.

  • +1

    This is a total Mistery!!!
    I an surprised how the prices jump so drastically. Is someone listening or monitoring even ?
    BP - 1.79$
    Seven Eleven - 1.69$

  • the ato has a list of businesses which pay minimal tax. that is the tax policy of this fat cat friendly government. Singapore that bastion of free enterprise controls the price of petrol so that it is uniformly fixed. even malaysia that emerging market does. we don't and the retailers and their puppet masters play havoc with prices. because they can. in that way, they are like banks. when a government controls the laws to prefer its rich and powerful supporters, the public will accept their efficient management. you can fool some of the people, all of the time.

    • +1

      Have your coffee and restructure that comment.

      • Yeah I think they need. to put the grammar in. the right spots because its not. very easy to read.

  • My old hometown had a petrol station that didn't fluctuate it's price even 1 cent sometimes for a period of many months - and it wasn't stuck on the peak position either, it was normally one of the cheapest within 20km drive.
    So if a small independant petrol station (that is constantly busy) can stick to a price, why can't the big guys? Oh right, dem sweet sweet profits.

  • We have very low petrol prices already when compared to many countries in Europe…

  • +1

    In Australia we are an opportunistic country. A good example…some poor Pubs in Sydney charge customers to enter the venue on New Years eve.

    We are conditioned into being ripped-off by everyone and anyone who has a product or service to sell, including Petrol stations.

    What would the Iraqi protestor's be thinking about our petrol prices? Remember what they did to their service stations.

    NSW government is the same…train, buses and ferry tickets are more expensive when the are more commuters travelling between 6 and 9am and the prices drop down after that.

  • +4

    Where is your compassion?

    Those billionaire oil tycoons orgy islands, mistresses, private jets, mega yachts and rat shit kids wanting lambos for the ie 18th birthday aint cheap. Also there is all that government lobbying and election meddling maintaining Conservative status quo governments around the world. Private armies to wipe out pesky villagers that think they have rights in 3rd world countries. Then there is all the accounts fee putting these profits into offshore tax havens. Also our government needs to give billions to mining companies in the form of fuel subsidies all year round.

    How is this allowed? Easy, because they can.

    • OP is talking about fluctuating retail price of fuel. There is a difference.

      • +1

        My point is about trying to assume ethical business practices from a completely unethical business is kinda pointless.

        • If taken in isolation, your point has some validity but I'm familiar with your stance against all corporations for everything they do.

          My point is businesses are free to make as much money they can outside of natural and/or illegal monopolies.

          • @tshow: OPEC is a cartel ontop of all the other illegal business practices, free market economy has nothing to do with it.

            This is casino pricing, they are making money off the poor and those who have no choice, its a monopoly. Not like they do anything good with those trillions anyway. Ohter than fund illegal activities including illegal wars and other-throwing democratic governments, they are lobbying to stifle innovation and investment in renewable energy.

            Not much different ethics wise from drug cartels except their product is legal.

    • +1

      If the oil industry is so great and profitable, why don't you buy some shares in Exxon or Shell? Honest question.

  • +1

    The fuel price cycle works for us bargain hunters, you just have to be smart. I always fill both cars at the low point and since we only do 150km a week each car it lasts until the next low point. I use petrol spy and when prices start to increase at a few stations I fill up. The way I figure is people who don’t care when they fill are subsidising my cheap fuel.

    If you can’t last the cycle buy a 20lt jerry can.

  • Stop blaming them… the govt are skimming off a large % for their own treasury. The prices are inflated by govts, and corrupt regimes.

  • I haven't read all the comments so apologies if I repeat what has already been said.

    This retail fuel cycle thing is unique to Australian major cities. I don't think anyone in 2019 living in a city should really be surprised by this price jump then slowly discounting fuel pricing cycle? The ACCC have written detailed reports on the nature of the retail fuel cycle. If you are in Perth you are lucky as the cycle is exactly weekly. Adelaide has a fairly regular cycle and the eastern states have a variable cycle that can be anywhere from 17 to 40 days. On the high end of the discount cycle the petrol is overpriced, while at the tail end the price can be lower than cost. Price cycles are generally not a thing in rural areas.

    Yes it makes no sense and is infuriating. As a bargain hunting community then how do we win at the petrol discount cycle?
    1. Download the Motormouth app.
    2. Download the 7-11 fuel app.
    3. Use Motormouth, especially the graph feature, to determine the optimum time to buy fuel.
    4. Buy fuel or, if fuel tank isn't quite empty enough, lock in the cheap price for another 7 days in the 7-11 app.
    5. WIN!

  • +1

    ACCA i am certain even have electric collar that they are allowed to bark at.

    My understanding is why sue or complain at oil and gas company when all excise tax and gst (double tax) collection is @ its lowest on holiday season meaning their in order to compensate the low usage… Increase price.
    How do you think the government maintains our roads?

    The price of petrol will only get worse as we dry up all the planet's oil resources.
    We can only hope that electric cars moves in quickly but most countries disagree as this will reduce their tax revenue. Sadly no govt. countries really care about global warming but more on whats in their pockets and digits in the bank account.

    I am sure they will only make a move when Australia becomes a desert country.

    Trivia: what do you get by paying AU$3,000,000,000 for a goverment project?
    A failed light rail system

    Imagine with the money you could make the world s most expensive roller coaster 25x times. I rather have a thrill ride in the city than a non functional one.

    • -1


  • +1

    If you look at the larger picture, its only a disgrace because the LNP and its sycophant Rerserve Bank governor is responsible for devaluing the AUD in order to prop up the domestic housing bubble to benefit their banking lobbyists, thereby raising the cost of living (including petrol prices) for everyday Aussies like yourself.

  • Always interesting to see people on here defending the status quo and supporting the questionably unethical practices of large multinational companies. Amazing that people can be so brainwashed and complacent that they think like this. "No, we can't change that because that is how it has always been." How are we ever going to evolve as a society with these brainless morons in our midst?! sigh

  • Buy a diesel car - $1.35 this morning and it doesn't get caught up in that fuel price cycle nonsense

    900kms on a 55l tank - fuelling a 2l engine that is also capable of 200kmh+ if you so choose (I don't but I've done it the past)

    Works for me

    • Most of the times Diesel is as expensive or more expensive that unleaded in Qld. Diesel used to be the way to go but the greenie initiatives have penalised people with diesel cars now.

  • lol it sucks but you cant do much

    Driving through my area one petrol station had 1.45 and the next one had 1.75

    What a joke. Buy Tesla?

  • Its the ridiculous price swings that should be outlawed. Last week I filled up at $1.27 only to see prices the next day at $1.70. An increase of over 30% in a day is gouging, nothing more nothing less.

    The wholesale price doesn't go up 30 odd percent in a day and then drop by a similar amount the next week, over and over again.

  • The government should reduce all kinds of taxes on energy efficient car like electric and hybrid cars. This will alleviate the use of fossil fuels. Many other countries are doing that but not Australia. I have been considering these energy efficient cars for years but they are generally priced 30-40% more than conventional cars.

  • Simple solution is government regulates petrol station profits on x margin based on oil prices . They never will because they have their hand in the till and higher prices are beneficial for them . Hence this shit price cycle that obviously works for them both .
    BTW OP on the right track petroleum retailers are making record profits hence their partner ( government ) is too on record taxes compared to the past .

  • QLD If you would like to see the fuel price cycle especially SEQ check out

    Fuel Detective

  • Petrol is not a right and the people selling it are doing so to make money. I can guarantee that if you owner a servo, you would jack up the price also.

    • +1

      Servo owners don't set the price, head office and the market do.

  • +1

    7/11 price lock my man.

  • +2


  • Had to drive through Granville to get ULP at $1.32/L. $12 saved for extra $2 dollar petrol cost to drive to Granville. Net $10 dollar saving.

  • +1

    Demand and supply. Don't complain.
    Take public transport or grow your own fuel.

    • or learn one simple trick

      Petrol stations hate him! Learn how he got free fuel in an afternoon with one simple trick.

      • an attendant is not going to unlock the pump if they can't clearly read your plate.

        If you go late at night, some places won't unlock it at all unless you prepay for the fuel, or give them your id.

  • With crude oil price rising steadily I bet it won't take long for us to see $2/L.

  • Cheapest price in Perth today is $1.285/L with an average of $1.35.
    Of course Monday is the cheapest day of our 7 day cycle so it will just dramatically tomorrow….

  • -1

    Greed is good. Greed is right , Greed it works…

  • Demand and supply mate.
    The world do not owe anyone cheap petrol, what ever your definition of "cheap" may be.

  • Some spineless tax payer funded government department did an investigation into price fixing a few years back and despite there being no such thing as the "price cycle" in the rest of the world and Aussie gas stations putting their prices up and down by the same amount on the same day… There was no evidence of price fixing.

  • I live most of the year in Germany and pay well over 2 dollars a litre for fuel… If I drive to Austria its usually close to the 2 dollar mark and I can save a good 10 bucks on a tank

    • You drive to another country to save $10 on fuel.

      • When the other country is less then 10 minutes from Where I live then yeah :)

        • Ahaha yeah it's funny how land borders work
          I just think the actual fact of driving to another country for fuel is funny :D

  • As a cyclist and bus/train rider, I've never in my life paid for petrol. I don't even have a licence or car. Do the gas stations even set their fuel prices? I thought that was set by some big brother like organisation. The price of 1 year of daily bus/train commutes is about $1500 without a concession. The price of a bicycle or electric skateboard is about $2-800 depending on how deep your pockets go. The Australian Automobile Association's (AAA) reported that the avg Australian spends about $3500 per year on fuel alone. Not including car maintenance. And most people don't even drive their cars with more than 1 person. Buses fit 1-50 people. Perhaps you could save money on gas, on car fees, and extend your life by using another option. (I understand that some people live with disabilities or care for humans with disabilities requiring them to drive, and some people need to drive for work(delivery drivers, etc)) but everybody else doesn't really need a car. It's a convenience item that you pay a premium for, and considering the environmental impact, both fuel and cars should pay an environment tax imo.

    • both fuel and cars should pay an environment tax imo.

      Everything that gets moved by trucks will be affected by your tax.

      (FYI, that's practically everything.)

      • I agree, that should carry an environmental tax too. Australia is burning.

        • We need to remove crossing guards.

          Australia is burning.