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Minister plans to keep petrol prices down under

The Local · 30 May 2011, 16:43

Published: 30 May 2011 16:43 GMT+02:00

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Ramsauer plans to introduce to cabinet a plan to stop the major fuel providers from constantly adjusting their prices to match one another’s, an effective abuse of their market dominance.

His push follows a report last week by the competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt, that accused the five big firms – Aral, Esso, Jet, Shell and Total – of watching each other’s prices and matching one another’s hikes often within a few hours.

This amounted to a kind of unspoken price-fixing, the watchdog concluded.

Ramsauer told daily Bild on Monday that he wanted to introduce the Australian model of price regulation, under which companies have to announce prices rises a day in advance.

“If an oil company has to announce its higher price in advance and isn’t allowed to change it for 24 hours, drivers know where they stand. Lawmakers have to try to protect the consumer against arbitrary price manipulation by dominant oil companies,'' he said.

The Australian model means drivers can respond to announced price hikes by buying fuel earlier and avoiding the more expensive petrol stations.

“The domino effect in which one (company) raises its prices several times in a day and the others follow would be broken,” Ramsauer said.

Story continues below…

The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:33 May 30, 2011 by majura
Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!
06:06 May 31, 2011 by Tobugrynbak
It was discovered that this scheme contravened a number of consumer laws so it was quietly buried before it was implemented. It was also discovered that it would infact harm trading by penalising the small operators and prevent them from competing against the major players.

This is because the major players can play the game by undercutting the small operators and because everyone is locked to their stated price they can't compete.

Of course socialists hate true competition.....
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