Fuelling Australia: Structural Changes and New Policy Challenges in the Petrol Industry
14 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 4, 2014
This article discusses structural changes and emerging policy issues in the wholesale and retail sectors of the Australian petrol industry. The evolution of upstream wholesale markets is a globalization story: rapid economic growth in countries like China and India are bringing global crude and petrol prices to historic levels. New Asian refineries are providing new, lower cost sources of refined petrol supply; Australia is responding by shutting down old refineries in favour of having import supply terminals to tap into this new international sources of refined oil. In the retail market, a number of recent anti-trust cases have centered on information technology, specifically online platforms that aim to informed firm and consumers of petrol prices. Supermarkets' use of shopper dockets that tie petrol and grocery purchases have also been scrutinized. I discuss the economics of these cases and empirical research that support the ACCC’s actions.
Keywords: Globalization; price fixing; information technology; anti-trust
JEL Classification: L11, L13, L4, P28
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