ACCC wins tougher petrol powers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be given greater powers to monitor the price of fuel in Australia after a report released today raised concerns about the operation of the petrol market.

The ACCC report into petrol prices found that while there is “no obvious evidence of price fixing or collusion between the major participants in the industry”, there are problems with the structure of the petrol industry that “raise concerns about current operations and future competitiveness”.

Even more worryingly, the report says the current multinational petroleum majors that dominated the Australian market enjoy a “comfortable oligopoly” and described petrol pricing patterns as an “enigma”.

Competition Policy Minister Chris Bowen has given the ACCC additional powers to monitor petrol prices on the basis of the report’s findings.

The report reflects the “high level of consumer frustration about price fluctuations and the lack of transparency in prices”, Bowen says.

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