Why do we put up with these wild price swings? 124

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Having just returned from a two-week road trip over the holiday period, I feel qualified to say that the people who decide how much we pay for petrol must make it up as they go along.

As we traversed three states over 14 days, we saw the cost of fuel roll from 110 cents per litre to more than 130 cents. It went up over the weekend, then back down when we least expected it. Obviously, we managed to time it all wrong and ran out of fuel every time the Powers That Be decided to ratchet it up a bit.

Why do we put up with this?

As Brandt Teal writes in the Daily Mercury, we simply would not accept this behaviour with any other daily essential. We’d be pretty peeved if we went to buy milk at Coles in the morning then learned that the price had gone down that afternoon, wouldn’t we?

And what if all groceries fluctuated so wildly? Imagine knowing you needed to fill the pantry on a day when the price was soaring… Most of us wouldn’t survive. We’d be phoning the ACCC, pounding on customer service counters, barraging Facebook pages and protesting to our local MP.

Teal writes, “Why is it when that other important daily commodity, petrol, wildly fluctuates in price, we all sit back and take as gospel the rubbish we’re told as reasons for it. Sorry but I can’t swallow the excuse it’s because the price of oil changes.

“When oil was over $100 a barrel about a year ago, we were paying around $1.35 a litre. Oil has been under $40 a barrel for a while now but the petrol price still spikes around $1.35 a litre.”

He adds, “As for the price cycle, it should be renamed the price gouge.”

We don’t pay to-the-minute costs for our electricity, another commodity that fluctuates wildly.Are we all being taken for a ride when it comes to petrol?

Teal says, “At this rate, it’s cheaper to run a car on milk. At least the price would be stable.”

Do you accept the fluctuating prices of petrol? How much did you last pay?

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  1. We don’t have a choice especially if travelling like most people at this time of year, PETROL PRICE GOUGING HAS BEEN HAPPENING ALL YEAR ROUND FOR MANY YEARS NOW and the ACCC basically have assisted them in doing it, they are the most useless organisation as they are to SCARED to go up against the fuel companies. They need to SCRAP THE ACCC IT’S NOT WORKING FOR CONSUMERS.

    1 REPLY
    • Agreed. ACCC is a rubber stamp to justify it’s bureaucracy.
      Also oil price fluctuates due to gamblers (ooops investors) being able to bet on it. No wild fluctuations = no big payouts
      in the derivative market.

  2. It amazes me, the more the price per barrel of oil drops, the more we seem to pay

    4 REPLY
  3. Need to buy hybrid cars, a bit expensive at first until you have paid it off but you save so much in fuel costs especially once you own it.
    Don’t be fooled with these Coles & Woolies discounts in fuel, it’s smoke & mirrors. You may save $3 or so, but they fiddle with food prices for shortfalls.

    6 REPLY
    • Unfortunately Carol you don’t even save $3, I was recently with a friend in her car and after paying for her fuel she said it only saved her 85c. I don’t believe in it either and couldn’t be bothered.

    • Yes, Trish you are right I was being too generous. We look for independent petrol stations but the big two are everywhere.

    • It’s also unclean fuel… You’ll need to replace the fuel filter more often; my mechanic has warned me against buying them.

    • My husband won’t use it either. We do have a Hybrid Camry and it uses the same amount of fuel as a motorbike.

    • Battery replacement for hybrids is currently around $7,000! We need Tesla technology and I don’t mean the Teslar car that is currently around.

  4. We just spent 4 weeks on the road in December and the price of petrol was an interesting topic of conversation in our car. There is no rhyme or reason for it. In remote places sometimes we would pay less than in places closer to a capital city. Sadly if we want to keep our cars on the road than as Philomena and Trish say we have to pay the price demanded.

    1 REPLY
    • I live in country SA and I find country prices are less likely to fluctuate. If they rise or fall it is because the last tanker load was more or less, and the cost of transport is added. At the bottom of the city prices they are cheaper but at the top often much higher than some country regions.

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