Petrol bosses could face senate

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 00:44
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If it does happen, it will get us nowhere...

Petrol bosses could face senate
June 21, 2006 - 8:04PM

Oil companies could be forced to defend their pricing policies in parliament as motorists continue to struggle under record high petrol prices.

Labor tonight signalled it would try to create a Senate inquiry into petrol price setting - and it immediately won support from Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce for the idea.

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said the government was continuing to ignore the plight faced by motorists, who are paying up to $1.53 a litre in some parts of the country for fuel.

He said a Senate inquiry would show the government was not afraid of the upper house using its powers to investigate issues of importance to everyday Australians.

"We need these petrol companies to explain how they set petrol prices," he said.

"Skyrocketing petrol prices are putting significant pressure on families in middle Australia and it is not good enough for (Prime Minister John) Howard to say there is nothing he can do.

"Labor wants to bring petrol company executives before the Senate to explain to Australian motorists how they set their prices."

With the parliament not sitting for another six weeks after Friday, the earliest the Labor proposal can go to the Senate is in August.

Senator Joyce said he had no trouble with putting oil company chiefs under the microscope.

"I think it would be good and it's one of the things we'd hope, with the new structure of the Senate committees, we'd be able to suggest and get out there," he told the Seven Network.

But there are doubts whether the inquiry would discover anything new, with the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today saying motorists are not being gouged at the bowser.

Graeme Samuel said too much regulation of the petrol market could actually push up prices.

"On all the analysis that's ever been undertaken by the ACCC, the more you attempt to regulate prices in this area ... the more likely it is that on average prices will be higher and consumers will suffer," he said.

Mr Samuel also says prices in Australia are broadly consistent with the international benchmark price for crude oil.

"I say broadly consistent, don't tie me down to one or two cents a litre ... we're broadly consistent in this country, averaging out those cycles, with what happens on the international marketplace," he said.

Mr Samuel said the best way for motorists to avoid really high prices was to fill up during the week.

He said service stations lifted their prices at weekends because that was when demand was at its highest.

"Those that are selling petrol need to make a profit at some stage, they know that most motorists will purchase petrol at the weekend, when it's convenient," he said.

"At the low point those that are selling petrol are potentially losing money, at the high point they are making money and it averages out over a week."
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Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 01:10

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 01:10
Big problem is the prices have remained relatively steady, it is the DISCOUNTING that has varied, and that is totally at THIER discretion.

Agreed, will go nowhere. Pure politics to look as if they are actually doing something.
AnswerID: 179800

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 01:19

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 01:19
Only real solution would be a one week cooling off period before they are allowed to change the price up or down. If the oil company owned sites go up too much in relation to the independants/non oil company owned sites, they are stuck with it for a week (watch your profits dive week after week if you get it wrong). This would make them average out the weeks "real" price and eliminate the W/E gouging, even for long W/E's.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:14

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:14
Im suprised more people arent waking up with empty tanks in their cars and someone running up the road with a few full jerrys and a slice of garden hose.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:23

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:23
It's already happening, a mate of mine (a young apprentice) just filled his patrol with diesel. Woke up in the morning with the cap off and no fuel! Poor bastard, apprentice wages would make it very difficult to go and fill er' back up again...
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Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 01:25

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 01:25
Further thoughts...

This would be particularly effective as they do not make much money/profit on the fuel anyway, most of the profit is generated collaterally with other in-store items that you buy while you are getting you petrol. If ppl don't buy petrol, they don't come into your store.
AnswerID: 179801

Reply By: Member - Bradley- Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 02:52

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 02:52
yep , didnt have time to fill up on way to work today at $1.28 , come home at midnight and its $1.39 all through town **&%$#@#@#@#** bastards!!

I am thinking a bit of "mad max" action wouldnt go astray, ie - ambush a tanker or 2.....

Seriously, we know we have to buy fuel, so doing the dont buy from here this week etc or no fuel days etc wont work. What WILL work is finding out which outlets get their fuel from the same tank farms & refineries, and boycotting those outlets for a week at a time, if we could systematically boycott each tankfarm it would cause absolute chaos with their production and storage that some change would have to be effected. We can whinge about the price till were blue in the face but untill we cause disruption and headache to their processes, they wont do a damn thing.

SO - anyone have any distribution info from the tankfarms ?
AnswerID: 179803

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:28

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:28
Well I don't do a heap of miles compared to some people on here (can't afford to in my current situation). However, I feel absoultally FANTASTIC that so far this year the oil companies have missed out on over 800L of diesel purchases from me, instead, I've been using recycled cooking oil (biodiesel) from a local small business.

Over here (WA) most of the fuel comes from BP anyway, it would'nt make much difference. The three tanks farms that I'm aware of are BP, Gull (Terminals West) and Mobile. But even these three have pipes between them and chop and change as required.
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Reply By: Member - MrBitchi (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 08:32

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 08:32
Have noticed one of our local independent servos has apparently given up on the weekly cycle and is instead maintaining a steady price at $1.27
In Brissy the cycle varies from $1.20 to $1.35 so yes they're pretty quiet when the price is down but they sure are making up for it when the price goes up.

Support the independents!!!!
AnswerID: 179810

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 09:27

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 09:27
That, or buy Coles shares and buy from Shell. Use the dividends for fuel and groceries.
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Reply By: Ray Bates - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 12:13

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 12:13
Two solutions to fuel prices:- Do away with world parity pricing and introduce retail price maintenance. Easy but very contravesal but our polies are frightened of the oil companies
AnswerID: 179847

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:25

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:25
IIRC the price of fuel used to be done in a "recommeded retail price" way, controlled by the Govt. Agree that it is something that is well worth revisiting.
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Reply By: Footloose - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:03

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:03
I've been saying for some time that the Australian public are being ripped. Every time I say it, someone posts supporting the current situation. In some cases I suspect that they are either anti Footy or own a slice of the action. Not bad if you can get it; a captive market that will continue to buy at any price.
Perhaps it's time to ask not what the Fed Govt can do but what they should do, and go from there.
While I don't expect much from a political exercise at least it might highlight the fact that Australian oil prices are hurting the little guy. Of course if the Govt gets its way with Senate Committees we may never hear much more about anything that's important.
AnswerID: 179863

Reply By: andoland - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:50

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 13:50
Not that I enjoy paying lots for fuel, but ... at the end of the day it's a free market. The oil companies, like anyone else selling anything else (except bread and milk) they have the right to charge what they like for their product. Why should the price of fuel at the bowser follow closely fluctuations in the price of oil other than because consumers want it to? Oil companies can put whatever price they like on it whenever they like. When the price gets too high people will reduce the amount they buy, revenue will go down and fuel prices will follow until an equilibrium is reached. It's a competetive market and any company that charges too much will lose business to their rivals.
AnswerID: 179882

Follow Up By: Member - Bill F (VIC) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 20:22

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 20:22
Why exempt bread and milk

they are not set prices

Bill
Fay'd away from the crowd

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FollowupID: 436131

Follow Up By: andoland - Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 08:21

Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 08:21
For some reason I thought there was a maximum price for bread and milk set by the government. Not sure why but I have always thought that to be the case.

I stand corrected.
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Reply By: conman - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 16:38

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 16:38
I'm sure BP and Shell are bleep ting themselves. Those companies are massive, let alone the number of people they employ. If they don't sell fuel here i'm sure they'll find someone to take it.
AnswerID: 179911

Reply By: Member - Bware (Tweed Valley) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 18:41

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 18:41
I don't get the daily/weekly fluctuations in price. 'Lifting prices at weekends because that's when demand is highest' just doesn't wash. What if restaurants raised their prices on Friday/Saturday nights? Most industries offer discounts to either a) get rid of old stock, b) pass savings on to the consumer due to cheaper stock price ie discounted alcohol, or c) competition. Imagine if the supermarkets raised all their prices on Thurs night and Sat morning or the price of milk and bread going up and down on a daily basis.
Accommodation has varying rates for weekends but that is again about discounting to get people in during the quiet weekdays and the prices don't vary week to week.
AnswerID: 179927

Reply By: Richard Kovac - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 21:54

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 21:54
Which Senate?

John Howard's Senate?

We loose

He will be pushing he's mate's in the sugar industries
AnswerID: 179962

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 22:31

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 22:31
Politics is the ability to listen only to lobby groups that tell politicians what they want to hear, whilst appearing to do thing that are politically expedient for them.

Actually DOING anything useful is not on their agenda......................
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Reply By: Mbr - Taz & Milka-Queanbeyan - Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 06:47

Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 06:47
Why do you think voting is compulsory ?

It makes them feel like someone wants them there.

Would you go to a resturant that had such a limited selection and when you had tried both flavours they both tasted like poo ?

I saw a bumper sticker a long time ago that said " Don't Vote...Why encourage the b@st@rds...!!!!"

Cheers....Taz
AnswerID: 180003

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