David Nankervis, 16 April 2016

FUEL retailers should be forced to reveal their petrol prices online to help drivers find the cheapest service station in their neighbourhood, the RAA has urged the State Government.

The state’s largest motoring organisation said such information would be used in apps that could be customised to find the cheapest fuel prices on a driver’s typical route between home and work.

The RAA wrote to Attorney-General John Rau last week, urging him to adopt legislation already before the NSW Parliament that would overcome gaps in price reporting.

As of Friday, ColesExpress no longer publishes its petrol prices which organisations like the RAA use to find the best prices in Adelaide and detect uncompetitive pricing behaviour.

This is a result of a deal between Coles and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to end legal action regarding competition in the retail market.

RAA spokesman Mark Borlace said ColesExpress accounted for almost a quarter of all fuel sold in the nation and not having its prices accessible was a “huge blow’’ for drivers trying to maximise their savings.

“ColesExpress are not obligated to provide their fuel prices to the public in a format where consumers can easily access it with other retailers’ fuel prices,’’ Mr Borlace said.

This was why the RAA had called on Mr Rau to introduce legislation requiring all retailers to provide fuel prices that were updated as often as every 15 minutes. Mr Rau didn’t write off such a scheme in the future if “evidence of substantial market failure arises’’.

But Mr Rau believed service station price boards already provided adequate information to help drivers shop around.

“I am of the view that there is currently insufficient justification for the South Australian Government to mandate the disclosure of price information to a central agency given that it must be displayed at each petrol outlet,’’ he said.

Mr Borlace said apps with real time pricing information would save motorists from driving around looking for cheap fuel.

Drivers could set up their app to show them the cheapest fuel prices on a set route, such as the regular drive to or from work and not just the cheapest anywhere in Adelaide, Mr Borlace said. For example, a Henley Beach driver who works in the city could set the app to show the cheapest prices along Grange and Henley Beach roads.

Extracted in full from the Adelaide Advertiser.