SEQ fuel price cycles driven by the same servos 

Griffith University researchers have found evidence of price leaders influencing the pattern of fuel prices inGreater Brisbane and Gold Coastin the latest update onthe Queensland Fuel Price ReportingScheme(QFRS).

Lead author Associate ProfessorParvinderKlerfrom Griffith Business School says the latest data allowed the team to pinpoint the beginning of fuel price cycles based on a handful of operators.

“One of the benefits forSEQmotorists is that other petrol stations won’t necessarily react immediately, giving consumers time to save at the bowser if they’re using fuel price apps powered byQueensland Fuel Price Reportingdata during a rising price cycle.

According to the report, price cycles lasted 27 days on average after fuel prices begin to rise.

“There tended to be only three or four retailers kickstarting the fuel price cycle. This doesn’t mean all of a brand’s retailers behaved the same way, rather we found it was particular bowser locations that would go first.

“There are many different owners of brand franchises, so we concentrated onbusiness owners of the servosand the same three or fourwere consistentlythe first to increase their prices and the rest would eventually follow.”

Associate ProfessorKlersays the real time price tracking data suggestsQueensland’s Fuel Watch Scheme produces different price cycles to Western Australia which requires retailers to lodge prices the day before.

Thisleads to more predictable price fluctuations they tend to go up one day and come down another day in the week.

“In Queensland, particularly in the Greater Brisbane and Gold Coast areaswe don’t see that, retailers can change their price at any time, which makes it complicated.

Whenever these few petrol stations decide to hike or lower their prices, it sets the price point for everyone else and a cycle begins.But we don’t see this play out in regional areas.

The18-month milestone reportestimates theschemehas saved consumers using unleaded fuel products about $8million in Brisbane and about $9.8million in Southeast Queensland per year. Brisbane motorists filling up at the minimum price could save about $147 per year while Gold Coast and Ipswich residents could save $129 and $144 respectively at the pump.

Griffith University has been engaged by the Queensland Government to provide an expert independent assessment of the QFRSand will deliver a final report in 2021.