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The Commerce Commission is always watching…


The latest from the Commerce Commission’s fuel monitoring data analysis is showing us that petrol stations are quick to put fuel prices up but soooo sloooooow to bring them back down.

Kiwi motorists often pay more for fuel for “longer than they should – due to this lopsided, or asymmetric, pricing known as ‘rockets and feathers,” said Commissioner Bryan Chapple.

“We can see clear evidence showing that fuel companies maintain temporarily higher margins after a decrease in their costs, lasting up to two weeks – at great expense to Kiwi motorists… Our findings suggest that petrol prices shoot up at the pump in response to increased costs, but there is a noticeable lag in retail prices being lowered in response to decreases in underlying costs.”

So exactly how much is this costing us consumers? The Commerce Commission estimated that if fuel companies dropped prices as quickly as they increased them when costs changed, motorists would benefit by around $15 million a year!!

That’s over 1/5th of the 50million lotto prize that went last weekend – so do we buy lotto tickets or just kindly ask the petrol stations to act quicker in lowering their prices per litre?!

Chapple said the findings were timely with the upcoming removal of the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax at the end of June, and the Commission has CLEAR expectations that fuel companies will promptly pass the benefit of this reduced tax through to consumers. We’ll be watching… *shifty eyes*

Fuel delivered to the Auckland region from July 1 will be cheaper by 11.5 cents per litre but Chapple said if fuel companies don’t reflect this promptly Aucklanders could be over-paying by nearly $1 million “in the first week alone”.

“In a healthy and competitive fuel market, we expect to see changes in underlying costs fully passed through into retail prices promptly.”

The Commission will also be keeping a close eye on the pricing tactics and “pass-through of cost changes” by fuel companies.