AAA supports ACCC fuel court action

Fleet managers will know that fuel consumption is one of the biggest daily running costs for an organisation's vehicle fleet. And while you could shop around for the best deal, this will probably be more trouble than its worth.

Fuel prices are a hot topic in Australia so the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) decision to take legal action against petrol retailers has been welcomed by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).

According to the ACCC, fuel retailers may have price shared illegally and these costs could have been passed onto fleets and motorists.

"It is alleged that retailers can propose a price increase to their competitors and monitor the response to it," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

"[If] the response is not sufficient, they can quickly withdraw the proposal and may punish competitors that have not accepted the proposed increased price."

This type of conduct means some fuel retailers are essentially tricked into increasing their prices and then passing them onto their customers.

AAA Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said it was "deeply concerning" and these practices should be "examined thoroughly". He said it was important that fleet managers and motorists have the ability to investigate real-time fuel prices that are accurate and genuine. This way individuals can make choices about where and when to fill their tanks.

"Fuel costs are ranked by motorists as the top concern in terms of vehicle affordability and with increasing pressures on household budgets this will continue to grow," Mr McKellar said.

"Motorists deserve to be able to pay a fair price for fuel and know the market is as competitive as it can be."

To avoid being ripped off at the pumps, managers could invest in fleet management software. The software can manage your fleet's fuel consumption and monitor vehicles so you know which cars are costing you the most money.