From ABC, 20 Mar. 08
TUESDAY SHORTAGES SPARK PETROL PROBE
Inspectors from the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading have been asked to investigate reports some service stations avoid selling premium petrol on Tuesdays, when prices are generally at their lowest.
The State Government has been examining whether petrol companies are deliberately withholding stocks of premium unleaded fuel or if service stations are pretending to be out so the petrol can be sold at a higher price later in the week.
Fair Trading Minister Linda Burney says an online survey of nearly 400-consumers has found one quarter of service stations are not selling premium petrol on Tuesdays.
"The more stories we've heard, the more information that we've been getting," she said.
"It appears there is a much broader issue about the way in which oil companies actually release fuel and require their retailers to sell fuel."
Premier Morris Iemma says the evidence being gathered will be passed on to federal authorities.
"If a tanker driver's saying "Well, I remember doing a delivery there. There is petrol in that bowser" then we can check the invoices," he said
"We do have power to check the bowsers and we will do that because if we can get evidence, we can pass it on to the ACCC or the petrol commissioner who can prosecute."
Mr Iemma says the inspectors will also be checking the invoices of service stations to see whether they have fuel stocks.
"We're out there doing what we can to assemble information," he said.
"We've got anecdotal information. We can translate that to evidence by using our power of invoice - checking the invoices and unlocking the bowsers.
"[If] we can pin them, we will and we'll pass that on to those that can prosecute."