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ABC.net: Major suppliers fixing petrol prices: NRMA ‘evidence’

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Price-fixing claims: The NRMA says Caltex, Shell, Mobil and BP are profiteering. (Getty Images: Ian Waldie)

Monday 3 September 2007

The New South Wales motoring body, the NRMA, says it has proof oil companies are inflating petrol prices.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is starting its public hearings into petrol prices in Sydney today.

The NRMA president, Alan Evans, says he will tell the inquiry he has evidence the major four fuel suppliers – Caltex, Shell, Mobil and BP – are profiteering.

“We’ve been tracking the price of fuel at the bowser compared to the price of Tapis crude, both before the announcement by the Treasurer of the ACCC inquiry,” he said.

“What we found is that whilst the price of crude had gone up, the price at the bowser came down after the announcement, which to us, demonstrates that when oil companies – when someone is looking over their shoulder – do reduce their prices.

“The anecdotes are now turned into reality and we’ve got the proof that oil companies, when someone is looking over their shoulder, keeping a very close eye on them, will behave and give motorists a fairer deal at the bowsers.

“The moment someone stops looking at them and they think they’ve got a free go, away they go and start ripping motorists off again.”

Mr Evans says the Australian petrol market is too concentrated.

“We don’t have a dynamic a market as they have in other countries in Europe and North America and therefore, it’s something we have to look at,” he said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/03/2021931.htm

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