24 December 2015, Sophie Elsworth

MOTORISTS should expect to enjoy cheaper petrol prices in 2016 after a ruling that will make real-time bowser pricing available to the public for the first time.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s chairman Rod Sims described the result as a “landmark agreement” that would help drive down fuel prices for consumers.

“We strongly believe this will lead to lower prices overall for consumers, they will buy cheaper petrol because of this arrangement,’’ he said.

The large petrol price discrepancies in Melbourne were one of the key drivers that led to the Federal Court action.

The data collected by Informed Sources was previously kept closed among 60 per cent of the petrol retailers nationwide, but it will be opened up to consumers via a free mobile app.

This will allow motorists to find out who is selling the cheapest petrol in their area in real-time.

The ACCC took Informed Services — a service paid for by the nation’s biggest petrol suppliers to access the petrol prices at rival retailers — to the Federal Court to demand the service be made available to the public.

Several large petrol retailers subscribe to the service including BP Australia, Caltex Australia, Woolworths and 7-Eleven Stores — or about 60 per cent of petrol retailers.

Mr Sims said the decision will allow consumers to easily find out the lowest petrol price available in the area they are in at any time and stamp out any anti-competitive behaviour.

“They get to choose the price of petrol and it also means that those petrol companies that are offering the lower price will get better rewards than they are now,’’ he said.

“More people will be able to see they have a low price and go to those petrol stations.”

A Woolworths spokesman said they were happy with the decision and will continue to make information available to consumers and third parties.

“Woolworths has always considered the Informed Sources service to be pro-competitive, helping Woolworths to efficiently compete in petrol markets and to ensure motorists get great prices,’’ he said.

“We are happy that our customers will be able to continue to compare our and our competitors’ prices on the Woolworths Fuel App, so they can be sure they are getting a great price for fuel at our sites.”

The new mobile app, which is yet to be named, will become available in May and will be updated every 15 minutes.

Melbourne’s average unleaded price yesterday was 131c a litre and was the second-most expensive behind Hobart at 132.5c, Motormouth data showed.

Darwin was 125.9c, Brisbane was 125.3, Sydney was 115.5 and Adelaide was 114.4.

Extracted in full from the Daily Telegraph.