The Australian Government, specifically the Office of the Chief Economist, produces a regular report on the key characteristics of the petroleum market in Australia. This monthly publication, entitled Australian Petroleum Statistics, collates national and state/territory statistical information such as product sales, the volume of fuel imports and exports and fuel price information.

A copy of this monthly publication can be readily downloaded at: http://www.industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/Publications/Pages/Australian-petroleum-statistics.aspx

Interestingly, and consistent with the monthly reports of the past 12 months or so, the latest monthly report (i.e. May 2016) shows that Australian petrol prices for the March 2016 Quarter were the fourth lowest of the 28 economies that comprise the OECD (see below).

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Similarly, diesel prices in Australia were the fifth largest of all OECD economies for the 2016 March Quarter as shown below.

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When considered in light of the recent frenzied media debate about petrol prices that was mounted by some of the countries motoring bodies in the past week, these findings – which are produced by an authoritative Australian Government body that is wholly independent of government – really raise an obvious question.

That is….. “How much more evidence do these bodies need before they are satisfied that the current operation of Australia’s openly competitive and transparent retail fuels market is actually delivering great outcomes for motorists and businesses”?

That is to say nothing of the fact that in terms of international competitiveness, the Australian fuel industry is actually helping to ensure that Australia enjoys a competitive advantage as a result of having lower fuel input costs for Australian business than the majority of the economies that we compete with.

Could it be that the most recent debate about petrol prices has less to do with concern about petrol prices and more to do about gaining personal or corporate publicity for a sensationalist headline?

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