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(AUSTRALIA) ACCC REPORT: The analysis shows that motorists in the five largest cities could have saved a combined total of nearly half a billion dollars ($485 million) in 2020 by switching from a variety of higher-priced to lower-priced major retailers #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.09: The range of petrol prices available to most Australian motorists means the potential savings from filling up at one of the cheaper retailers are very significant,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said:

AUSTRALIA: Cheaper petrol at independent chains offers half a billion dollars as Speedway, Metro Petroleum, United, Vibe and FuelXpress had the cheapest petrol in the country’s eight capital cities in 2020, a new ACCC petrol industry report released today, shows the average range between the highest and lowest-priced major petrol retailer across the five largest capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) increased to 11.4 cents per litre (cpl) in 2020, from 8.4 cpl in 2019.

Petrol prices by major retailer in 2020
ACCC REPORT:

“We often hear that all petrol prices are the same but this report shows that people living in capital cities do have choice about where they get their fuel, and how much they pay for it.”

“Consumers should bear in mind that regular unleaded petrol sold in Australia typically comes from the same refineries or import terminals, and there are minimum quality standards that all retailers are required to adhere to. This means that motorists are getting petrol of a similar quality regardless of where they fill up,” Mr Sims said.

The report compares different major retailers’ annual average petrol prices in 2020 with the market average price, and reveals the savings that an average motorist could have made by switching from the highest to lowest-priced major retailer in each of Australia’s capital cities.

Refiner-marketers – the large retailers that refine and sell wholesale petrol, as well as selling it at the retail level – were the most expensive major retailers in most capital cities. These were Coles Express (where Viva Energy sets prices) in Brisbane and Canberra, BP (for those service stations that are company owned and operated) in Sydney and Melbourne, and Caltex (for those service stations that are company owned and operated) in Adelaide.

In the other capital cities, the most expensive retailers were BP Sanzone (a BP branded independent chain) in Perth, Puma Energy in Darwin, and small independents in Hobart.

In 2020, a motorist in Sydney could have saved around $445 for the year by choosing to fill up at the lowest-priced independent chain rather than the highest-priced major retailer. Similar savings would have been around $317 in Melbourne, $174 in Brisbane, $330 in Adelaide, $216 in Perth, $200 in Canberra, $78 in Hobart and $55 in Darwin.

“While price is undoubtedly the biggest influence on consumers’ decision about where to buy petrol, it’s important to acknowledge that factors such as location, type of fuel sold, the ability to use discount vouchers, and convenience store offerings all play a part as well,” Mr Sims said.

“People who choose to buy petrol at one location because it suits their needs can continue exercising their consumer choice. But we want Australians to know that there is a range of petrol retailers out there with different offerings, including cheaper petrol.”

“Our analysis shows that in the four years from 2017 to 2020, certain independent chains were consistently the lowest-priced major petrol retailers across the capital cities,” Mr Sims said.

“There are a number of independent chains in our largest capital cities with many retail sites, so a lot of motorists won’t have to go far to find cheaper fuel if they want it.”

The report shows that in Sydney there were six independent chains with average prices below the market average price, representing about one in four of more than 800 retail sites. In the other capital cities, independent chains represented around two in five retail sites in Brisbane, one in three in Darwin, one in four in Perth, one in five in Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart, and one in six in Adelaide.

Fuel price apps and websites

Information to help consumers compare petrol prices is now widely available. This includes real-time price data available through state-based fuel price transparency schemes operating in WA (FuelWatch), NSW (FuelCheck), the Northern Territory (MyFuel NT), Tasmania (FuelCheck TAS), Queensland and SA, and a range of Australia-wide commercial apps and websites that motorists can use (such as MotorMouth and PetrolSpy).

Some fuel price websites and apps are more comprehensive and timely than others. The government schemes are the most comprehensive and up-to-date, whereas the commercial apps and websites may not include all sites, which means that some of the lowest-priced sites are not listed.

However, in jurisdictions where the commercial services obtain their data via the government schemes, they can be as comprehensive and timely as the government websites and apps.

Over the past seven years, the ACCC has championed greater fuel price transparency for consumers in Australia through its court action and policy advocacy.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Sydney in 2020

In 2020, Sydney motorists could have saved 17.1 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was Speedway, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was BP COCO.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: References to petrol in Sydney are to E10.
The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Sydney for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
The proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
BP Jasbe is a BP-branded independent chain.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Melbourne in 2020

In 2020, Melbourne motorists could have saved 12.2 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was Metro Petroleum, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was BP COCO.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Melbourne for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
Prices were not available for Shell retail sites in Melbourne. Therefore, the proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent.
BP AA and BP Jasbe are BP-branded independent chains.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Brisbane in 2020

In 2020, Brisbane motorists could have saved 6.7 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was United, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was Coles Express.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Brisbane for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
The proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.
BP McPhee is a BP-branded independent chain.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Adelaide in 2020

In 2020, Adelaide motorists could have saved 12.7 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was United, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was Caltex COCO.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Adelaide for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
The small independents category includes the single BP COCO retail site in Adelaide.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Perth in 2020

In 2020, Perth motorists could have saved 8.3 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was Vibe, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was BP Sanzone.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Perth for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
BP Sanzone and BP Epic Group are BP-branded independent chains.
The average price for 7-Eleven was equal to the market average price.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Canberra in 2020

In 2020, Canberra motorists could have saved 7.7 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was Metro Petroleum, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was Coles Express.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Canberra for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
Prices were not available for BP-branded retail sites in Canberra, as they generally sell E10 rather than RULP. Prices were also not available for the small independents category. Therefore, the proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Hobart in 2020

In 2020, Hobart motorists could have saved 3 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was United, rather than the highest-priced retailers, which were small independents.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Hobart for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
Caltex Bennett’s Petroleum is a Caltex-branded independent chain.
The average prices of Coles Express and BP COCO were equal to the market average.

Difference between each major retailer’s annual average petrol price and the market annual average petrol price in Darwin in 2020

In 2020, Darwin motorists could have saved 2.1 cents per litre by buying petrol at the lowest-priced retailer, which was FuelXpress, rather than the highest-priced retailer, which was Puma Energy.

Source: ACCC calculations based on Informed Sources data and information provided by some major retailers.

Notes: The numbers in brackets are the proportion of retail sites in Darwin for each major retailer as at 30 June 2019.
Prices were not available for the small independents category. Therefore, the proportions of retail sites shown in the chart do not total 100 per cent.

Background

For this report, the ACCC obtained annual average retail prices in calendar years 2019 and 2020 by major retailer for regular unleaded petrol (RULP) in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin, and for E10 in Sydney (i.e. RULP with up to 10 per cent ethanol). This analysis focused on the capital cities because they generally have a larger range of prices, and more retail sites, than regional locations across Australia.

The estimated savings are based on typical fuel use over a full year. Demand for petrol decreased significantly in 2020 in some jurisdictions due to restrictions on travel associated with COVID-19.

There are a variety of business models and ownership structures in the retail petrol industry, meaning that there are different pricing strategies and offers among retail sites, as well as different capital structures and cost bases. Readers of the report should bear these differences in mind when considering the average prices of the major retailers.

Not all BP or Caltex branded sites are operated by BP and Ampol (Caltex). In some instances, these sites are independently operated but use the BP or Caltex/Ampol brand. The report separates these independently operated, but company branded sites, from the BP and Caltex/Ampol company owned and company operated sites.

The ACCC has a ministerial direction to monitor prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of petroleum products in Australia until 2022.

Under the direction the ACCC prepares quarterly petrol monitoring reports focusing on price movements in the capital cities and over 190 regional locations across Australia. The ACCC also prepares petrol industry reports on particular issues of consumer interest or industry significance.

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#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.09: 2021:

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