Australia-based Caltex, which is engaged in the purchase, distribution and marketing of petroleum products, has told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that claims made by Australia's National Roads and Motorists' Association about petrol prices and Tapis crude oil are flawed.

Australian petrol prices are based on the price of petrol from Singapore refineries, the source of most of Australia’s petrol imports, Caltex managing director and CEO, Des King, told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) inquiry into petrol pricing in Sydney. Petrol prices are not based on the price of crude oil.

Mr King said that in the 65-day period recently referred to by the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) after the ACCC inquiry was announced, pump prices for petrol in Sydney were an average A$0.04 per liter lower than in the same period prior to announcement of the inquiry. Mr King said that this was due to refinery prices in Singapore, not crude oil prices.

Australian petroleum product prices follow Singapore refinery prices because about 25% of Australia’s petroleum products are imported, and Australian refineries must compete with these imports. Indeed, in 2006, 18% of Australia’s petrol was imported, Mr King revealed.