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FuelWatch was created by the Western Australian Government in January 2001 in response to a Parliamentary Select Committee which investigated the then intra-daily price changes and the city-country price differential in 2000. On 2, January 2001 FuelWatch commenced daily monitoring of prices for petrol, diesel and LPG within metropolitan Perth and many regional areas in the South West of the state.
In May 2003, following consultation with the community, local governments and industry the Government extended the FuelWatch boundaries to include an additional 24 towns and five local government districts. Today, FuelWatch extends over the metropolitan area and 52 regional locations, equating to approximately 80% of regional and 100% metropolitan retail outlets in Western Australia.
The information provided by FuelWatch is provided via a website, phone service and media sources, enabling WA motorists to access the best fuel prices in their area. FuelWatch gives consumers better access to information and allows them to make an informed decision when it comes to their fuel purchases. By removing the ability for retailers to alter their prices for a 24-hour period, the consumer has a certainty as price to expect to pay and has the ability to shop around. A study undertaken in 2007 by the ACCC found that on average FuelWatch led a to a decrease in pricing.
It is currently part of Australia's Department of Commerce. In 2008 there were plans to implement a nationwide FuelWatch system, to be run by the Commonwealth. This was defeated by a tied vote in the Senate.
FuelWatch is legislatively empowered to provide price transparency and knowledge of fuel prices in both the wholesale and retail industry sectors. These powers are provided by the following
This legislation requires retailers to notify the prices they wish to trade with for tomorrow by 2:00pm today. This price is then fixed for 24 hours (known as "the 24 hour rule"), commencing at 6:00am the following day.