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Australia’s national consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commisson(ACCC) has confirmed something most motorists probably already knew, petrol retailers are leading fuel prices higher, and it’s particularly laid the blame on supermarket discounter, Coles Express.

In a statement released tonight the ACCC said consumers should shop around in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide as Coles Express are leading petrol prices higher as the petrol pricing cycle peaks.

In these cities, petrol prices tend to cycle over seven days. Prices are often the lowest on a Wednesday morning and highest on a Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

“Analysis of petrol pricing in a 9 a.m. ‘snapshot’ today shows that Coles Express sites have set the highest prices in the four capital cities,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Petrol Commissioner, Mr Pat Walker, warned. “Today in all four eastern capitals Coles Express was setting the highest prices at a significant number of its sites, which is consistent with a recent trend.

Fuel pump

“There are often a range of retail prices for unleaded petrol charged by service stations in these cities. On any given day the range from the lowest available retail price to the highest is usually between 15 to 20 cents per litre.

“Consumer must look carefully at price boards to check the competition in their area before topping up their tanks.

“It is important that consumers do not automatically rely on their petrol discount voucher to necessarily deliver the lowest price,” Mr Walker said. “In these cases, loyal shoppers redeeming their voucher at the highest priced sites are paying much more than they need to.”

  • No Name

    ***** F R U G L O *****

    Make good sense to shop around. I drive past two supermarket convenience filling stations with high priced fuel then onto an independent petroleum company and get it at equivalent 12cents/lit less. $9 per tank full saving.
    Shell UK announced its profits for the 2008 1st quarter at a record 9 billion pounds. Oooh it must be hard in that industry.

    We’re getting ripped by the companies generally.

    We’re getting ripped by the companies generally.

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    Whats even more worry-some is some silly people on here (most) go on with obsession on power. Look at VW AWD Polo story………….the average consensus appears to be, why bother. I look at it from simple marketting perspective, and that is VW are spreading model range further and the geeklets whinging on why bother AWD when need more HP. Like more power will make a huge difference when no Autobahn here and hefty fines and/or loss of Licence applies. We are taking Uni types here which is a worry as these people are so obtuse and so out of touch with all but are touching down there zipper. Fact is its called marketting and VW are to be congratulated for the sporty little number they released, AWD Polo and Dual Cab ute……..all strong indicators that VW are coming Toyota and coming hard. This is reality and not BS what these tossers implie!

  • Golfschwein

    Shopper dockets aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. There’s no free lunch here.

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    They elude to more power and ignore safety on Polo and then weeks before praise Subaru range for safety of AWD. LOL!!!!!! And with rising petrol prices we are seeing a lessening of power and more better fuel economy achieved…then rednecks get on here chimming in about more power. Truly a joke of a laugh. Then we get TP on here or Dingo praising Toyota on Aurieus model obtusely! TOO F***ING FUNNY AS! Then they go on about VW being weak as of quality…..and ignore stats your mentioned as if “all on track” and “doesnt matter”. I now clearly understand how PM Rudd got in!

  • http://www.ausringers.com Liam

    The thing that’s odd about this is that the Shell outlets in Canberra are often one of the cheaper options. Shell Curtin, which I’m guessing is an independent, is nearly always cheaper than anywhere else. This is their regular ULP price, before any Coles discounting is applied.

    Ultimately the oil companies are bigger than the Australian Government anyway, haha.

  • Sam

    This is how we work out our prices:
    We work off the TGP (terminal gate price) as a base price,
    add 2cents for transport
    add 1cent for BP
    add 2-5cents for our own profit(generally)

    Other factors to consider:
    BP do not refine in Victoria so we source from Shell generally therefore, BP cannot control the price(TGP) of fuel. We cannot put our price down untill Shell does.

  • Reckless1

    Hey Sam, if you believe that rubbish, I can sell you the Harbour Bridge for $10.

    If there is no money in petrol retailing, how come Coles and Safeway were so desperate to control it.

    Within a week of the 4c discounts starting, the price rose by 4c. Occasionally you can get 20c offers from these thieves, so a simple mind would think that’s great but a thinker would know that there’s at least 20c already slapped on.

    First rule of ANY business – buy as cheaply as you can, sell for as much as you can. No-one sells 100litres of fuel for $2.00 gross profit, and then pays for the station running costs out of that. Petrol retailers have been spruiking the 2c figure since petrol was 7c a liter in 1966, and probably long before that.

    Feel free to think I say

  • Sam

    Reckless, are you in the business??
    Around 80% of our profit is in shop sales.
    This is why Safeway and Coles petrols make you buy in their shops; to get it out of you.

  • Bret

    I avoid Shell anyway, because using Shell ULP generally delivers about 50km less per 68L tank than BP, with Caltex/woolies somewhere in between. 50 km equates to about 5 litres which is over $7. This is 3 times more than the shopper docket discount.
    Anyway thats the way I have found it works, with my car, in SA where ALL fuel is shipped in.

  • Bret

    Sam brings up another point – shop sales. That is the reason why drive-offs can’t (or won’t) be prevented.

    Firstly, if you pre-pay (& I won’t because I will not be treated like a criminal and will go elsewhere), then you are unlikely to go back in and buy anything else, and many can’t plan ahead to buy it when they first go in.

    Secondly, the ultimate drive-off prevention is the toll-gate: set up a booth with boom gate and let people pay on the way out – but the problem here is that you don’t get people into the shop to buy other stuff.

  • jaycar

    I tend to stay clear of the Coles express and the Safeway petrol stations as they seem to always be higher in price than the independant retailers in Melbourne. I am annoyed that they have taken over and squashed the smaller players, and as per usual we end up paying for the lack of competition with higher prices. Competition is the best regulator of the petrol industry, but with so few left in the mix, it ends up that we the cosumer pay the price. All because of a shop a docket……..

  • http://caradvice Blue Blood

    simple dont get your fuel at either

  • Frugal-One

    Anyway, LPG is stuck/jammed on 60cpl here in Melb. the price does not see to budge!

    ONLY Shell are giving me 8cpl off, i will stick with them.

    For those with DIEsel, SUFFER-IN-YA-JOCKS!



  • http://www.ausringers.com Liam

    Sam, by following your post it seems the TGP can alter significantly in one day. Can you please explain how this happens when, presumably, the storage tanks at the fuel station has not changed during the same time? Is the fuel in storage paid for in advance by the retailer, or after it has been sold?

  • Jerome

    Naughtyius Maximus pretty sure your on crack coz ur posts make little to no sense.

    Yes people want more power and that = more fuel.
    But ur praising VW for making a awd polo, which is the most useless POS of a car ever.

    AWD adds considerable weight, weight is much more an enemy of fuel economy then power is. So you get more weight in a car that will never need awd capabilities, hell no car needs awd unless ur driving in the snow.

    So the polo will be slower then its normal version and use more petrol, but to you its a hero car?

  • Grumps

    I find it interesting that the city people get certain days where the petrol is cheaper yet here in country NSW the petrol stays the same price all week.

    I wish we had ‘Cheap Tuesday’ !

  • Fenno

    In all fairness, we all have our eyes on the money-hungry oil companies (mostly to blame), but what about our federal AND state governments and the fact that they tax us on a percentage of the overall cost. If they were making huge revenue when the fuel cost 75c per litre then what gives them the right to continue setting the watchdogs on the companies and not themselves when fuel is $1+. I guess tax relief only comes to those who are not the majority.
    To add to this, the government must be making more and more money as the price of fuel goes up yet one still cannot drive between Syd-Mel or Syd-Bris on a decent road. Where is this money going?
    Somebody please enlighten me.

  • davidt

    The tax, it’s about 38% of the pump price if i recall correctly, is a Road Tax but it goes into consolidated revenue, that great gold pile the government has where mountains of cash go in and some comes out for whatever seems like a good vote winner at the time. It’s supposed to pay for roads, road safety and the like but not a lot of it gets spent on that, least wise not anywhere that you’d notice if you take a look at some of our third world roads.

  • Fenno

    So 38% of 75c a litre gave them a surplus…I wonder what it would be like with todays prices?
    The government is using sleight-of-hand tactics by commissioning the ACCC watchdog to come down on corporations while they have money fights in the counting parlour.

  • Millatime

    More and more reasons to overthrow the sloths in Parliament. Can anyone tell me how this Claymore works…?

  • Andrew

    Frugal-One Says: “For those with DIEsel, SUFFER-IN-YA-JOCKS!”
    Everyone should have an interest in the diesel price. Your food doesn’t get delivered to the supermarket in the back of a LPG Falcon. Everyone pays for the high price of diesel.

  • Golfschwein

    Millatime, we just have!

  • http://mazda James F

    Rising fuel is here to stay and we all hate and we all whinge (rightly so) – but I cant see anything which will change the facts.. We will always be ripped off… thats the way it is. Coles and Woolies have just found a way to get even more percentage of our wallets each week (between groceries and fuel)… At the end of the day its a business trying to reap as much profit as possible…

    I feel sorry for country people who dont get cheap Tuesdays (as Grumps said).. And they are talking about this new road usage tax (aka Netherlands)… If only public transport was worth the hassle – as they really are making drivers’ life damn frustrating at best – and I reckon the Govt coffers are the ones getting away with all our anger… We keep having a go at the oil companies, but 38% (as people have mentioned)is quite a hit to our back pockets…

    With the cost of oil at all time highs (US $120 barrel) we are screwed…

    Oh well….

  • Bret

    The biggest hurdle is yet to come when Rudd introduces the carbon tax, watch the prices skyrocket then.
    Even now the Greens think that we should pay double the tax to discourage use of fuel.
    Fuel prices will continue to rise as the taxes are ramped up – and you can thank Labor and the Greens ’cause it will happen.

  • Daniel Dacey


    Here is a reason. Some people think spending the money over and over again at the supermarket they are forced to now use, is worth it if they save 4c at the petrol station. The brain doesnt go into gear, so thinking if these supermarkets are dearer to shop at and the savings elsewhere would be worth more than the docket, or if the petrol docket represents a real saving when you actually compare the price of the petrol at these service stations, doesn’t come into it.

    So they buy more than they might otherwise to meet the minimum quote needed to get a fuel discount and rush off to pay top dollar for the petrol anyway.

    What is not to like about this for Coles and Woolworths?


  • Andrew M

    always buy at independents, I do.

    they are with out a doubt the cheapest, and maintain prices that are a little more stable.

    infact i say always support small business, whether it be fuel or your local IGA.

    if anyone ever travels the Warrego Hwy in QLD, on the way to Toowoomba there is an independent that is always 5cpl cheaper. that kills both myths.
    fuel in country areas can be cheaper, and the “big mobs” arent cheaper

    also with the tax on fuel, isnt it a cents per litre tax, not a percentage tax?

  • Grumps

    I think a big part of the problem is that the cost of everything, not just petrol, is going up but wages aren’t following.

    We have all noticed an increase in the price of the basics such as food, milk etc but my pay packet hasn’t gone up to match it.

    I don’t think people would actually mind too much paying $1.55 a litre for petrol if the price of other things had remained stable.

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    Jerome Says:
    May 8th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Its called diversfying a larger model range with VW declaring they are after number 1 spot. I really think you got to think “if possible” and see this! Or are you another Toyota Tosser and bleat silly for having AWD! For some reason you have your bolts loose on your neck like Frankenstein………its not my hero car. Its a addition to the VW range which will compete in wider market place. Gee you are odd!

  • trackdaze

    Back to the topic.

    Good going by the ACCC on the naming and shaming.

    Now it is up to the lemmings to put their brains into gear and shop elsewhere for both food & petrol.

  • trackdaze

    On another note.

    Dont get fooled into buying the 3cents per litre cheaper ethanol blend. because of the lower energy content you will use more than the discount gives you.

  • Bret

    Trackdaze, maybe but my car gets better fuel consumption running ethanol blend (E10) than using Coles/Shell ULP.

  • slugger

    Hi Liam,

    I used to be a button jockey at Shell years ago.

    The cycle used to go like this and I have no way of knowing if it still goes this way:

    Tanker comes in, price is set.

    On your way to work, you go past three or four other stations in the area and fax their prices to head office.

    Towards the end of the day, you get a call telling you that they’ll ‘support’ knocking 1,2 or 3c off the price – they’d set the unleaded price and everything else went off that (diesel never changed during the week, just on tanker day). LPG was a separate issue.

    The price heads downward over the week till the tanker arrives and the price goes back up.

    It seems to me that’s the way it still goes. We were the last to go down, the first to go up.

    As I say, I have no idea if that’s still how it works, but it certainly seems that way.

  • Davo

    Back to basics?
    We used to go to the butcher to buy meat,the green grocer to buy fruit & veg(it is always fresher),the supermarket was for non perishables only,it was never a fuel source.
    We have gone wrong somewhere in our demands for convenience & “choice”.
    Still shop the old fashioned way.
    I rarely buy an apple from a supermarket.
    Too expensive $2 a kilo more from a supermarket
    Convenience always costs we have played into the hands of a duopoly.
    The Walmart scenario is dangerous from any perpective.
    Have never used a “discount” petrol voucher.

  • Bingo

    sad part is that both major parties are so deep in pockets of big Oil and Big Banks they will never even attempt to do anything :). Like, give ACCC some real power.