Consumer watchdog says real-time fuel pricing has “positive” impact

22 December, 2021

RAA welcomes an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report saying transparent fuel pricing appears to be having a positive impact on Adelaide petrol prices.

The RAA is now calling on the winner of the state election in March to make the real-time fuel pricing scheme permanent.

“This would give motorists confidence they can find the cheapest fuel prices available in real-time into the future,” RAA fuel expert Mark Borlace said.

“We know the scheme is popular – we have had more than two million fuel price searches on our free myRAA app in the nine months since the scheme began, and our survey showed motorists using our app were saving almost $30 a month.”

The Marshall government introduced a real-time fuel pricing scheme on a two-year trial basis in March this year. The scheme enables motorists to find the cheapest priced fuel in their neighbourhood or their driving journey by using an app.

The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission’s latest petrol monitoring report found average retail prices in Adelaide were lowest of all state capital cities in the past 2 quarters.

It found the introduction of real-time fuel price transparency “appears to have had a positive impact in Adelaide as retail prices at the peak of many price cycles were noticeably lower after the scheme commenced.”

“In the last 2 quarters, retail prices at the peak of the price cycle were noticeably lower than in earlier quarters,” the report released this month said.

“The introduction of the fuel price transparency scheme in Adelaide from 20 March 2021, which provides motorists with access to real-time fuel price information, may have been an influence on the smaller price cycle increases. From the start of the scheme to the end of September 2021, the average increase in prices to the peak of the price cycle was 23.3c/l. This compares with an average increase of 34.3c/l in the 6 months prior to the start of the scheme.”

The report also said: “The ACCC has long been a supporter of such schemes. Real-time price information can help consumers find the lowest prices, encourages them to buy where petrol is cheapest, and rewards price­competitive retailers. For these benefits to be achieved it is essential that such schemes are comprehensive, accurate, timely and readily accessible to consumers.”

RAA spokesman Mark Borlace welcomed the ACCC’s findings, saying they vindicated RAA’s lobbying for the introduction of real-time fuel pricing.

“Providing motorists with fuel prices at all outlets in real-time has allowed them to shop around for the best prices and save money at the bowser,” he said.

Mr Borlace said the pricing information available via the app was especially valuable during petrol price spikes and that a record 70,000 motorists accessed the myRAA app to check fuel price last month.