ACCC Ends Supermarket Fuel Discount War: Coles, Woolies Agree, No More Than 4c

Getty/Ian Waldie

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has brought supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths to heel over the discount petrol war that lead to offers of up to 30c-per-litre discount vouchers.

The ACCC has accepted undertakings from the duo to voluntarily end offers cross-subsidised by other parts of the business, other than fuel retailing. Two years ago, customers buying beer from Coles-owned liquor outlets could get discount vouchers of up to 30c per litre. More recently, 8c vouchers have been offered via the supermarkets.

The discount will be capped at 4c per litre.

The competition regulator had been investigating whether the petrol vouchers were lessening competition in the retail fuel market.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims, said the investigation began following complaints that other operators could not match the 8-cent discount, but a decision on the issue had not been reached by the time the deal with the duopoly was struck.

“We’ve accepted the undertakings because they address the ACCC’s principal competition concerns and allow the matter to be resolved quickly and efficiently,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC remains concerned about any other fuel discount offers funded by non-fuel retailing operations.

The 4c per litre limit comes into effect from 1 January, 2014.

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