Feb 042008

Political opportunist, Steven Fielding, has come out claiming

“it’s about time the Rudd Government really got a handle on this issue by cutting petrol tax”

Of course, he never uttered a murmur on the issue when the Howard Government was in power, did he? It’s a pipe dream to expect any government to surrender perhaps it’s greatest cash cow. Especially during a time of increasing inflation.
While we’re on the issue of petrol prices, I decided to take another look at the latest weekly fuel pricing reports from the Australian Institute of Petroleum. All the usual graphs and excuses are there, and something else. The analysis presented is now far more thorough, or rather the presentation of same is, than it used to be from this site. Analysis now includes TAPIS oil pricing and MOPS95 – the price of 95 octane unleaded petrol out of Singapore – and the differentials between those prices and Terminal Gate Pricing to Retail Pump Pricing. I’m reminded of that old sage, “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bull”
A caveat appears underneath each and every graph on the site, containing these words.

“they do not represent profits accruing to oil companies at the refining, wholesale or retail segments of the market.”

It’s all bullshit, of course, because no-where on the site is a comparison of TAPIS or MOPS95 prices to relative wholesale and retail prices at terminal gate or pump in relation to movements in the Aussie dollar. Nor is there any explanation behind the mysterious increase in prices immediately prior to every public holiday or long weekend.
Clearly, oil refiners and importers in this country do their commodity trading under long and short term hedge contracts. This would tend to explain the rise & fall on a regular basis of the terminal gate and retail pump price. No such fluctuation occurs in the TAPIS or MOPS95 pricing and no explanation appears on the AIP site. I wonder why?
Look, it’s easy. Just whack up a few complicated looking graphs, sub-title them with mumbo-jumbo palava and a rider which says ‘Hey….we’re not ripping you off….. truly!’ and the great unwashed consumer will swallow it. And who cares if they don’t? The consumer is a captive animal. It can pace back & forth behind the bars of necessity, growl loudly and complain to the ACCC, but where are it’s teeth? All pulled, as are the claws.
We’re being fleeced, fellow consumers, and none of it is golden. In fact it’s a colour closely approximating that stuff which flies off rapidly rotating air stirrers.

  2 Responses to “Those Damnable Petrol Prices”

  1. As much as I love to go ‘vroom. vroom’ there is no sound argument not to price petrol at $5 or $10 per litre. We’ll use less, discover ‘trains & boats & bicycles’ and maybe get pissed off enough to demand the infrastructure be maintained, rail, trams, etc. And think of the federal revenue until people figured out that we really don’t need the Mad Max stuff all that much. I’m no fan of ethanol subsidies but the point is that it were produced, locally in every smnall farming community from stubble and waste, the 7 Sisters would starve.
    Like heroin, it’s kinda, sorta fun but not for sentients.

  2. “There’s no sound argument not to price petrol at $5 or $10 per litre”… you are crazy… a millionaire or just have no idea of economics. Transporting goods everywhere uses fuel… watch prices of your everyday essentials go of the scale with your fuel price rise idea’s.
    Private car use adds less than 1% to total fossil fuel pollution, so stopping people driving cars will have virtually no (good) impact on the environment.
    Once the nuclear fusion (clean nuclear energy) is mastered, pollution levels will go down as all power stations around the world are slowly converted.
    And Global warming, well before man was around, the earth went through hot and cold times, so to suddenly blame the world heating on us driving our cars is ludicrous…
    Government’s will always give you “gloomy” info so they can tax you more for no real reason…

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