I’ve spoken at length about fuel price apps and how effective they are, particularly in regional areas.
News this week has emerged about the fuel app price inspectors finally getting out of Adelaide and into regional SA.
That’s great news for residents of the Spencer Gulf, Mid North, Riverland and…. Err, apparently that’s it.
And here lies the problem with these apps.
If you have nobody checking up on the pricing, how can they be effective?
Is our fuel REALLY getting cheaper? Image: Canva
And given our fuel prices on the EP remain at almost constant levels, how effective can the app be when shipping costs are tacked on the back of the prices?
The app only shows any kind of usefulness when there’s government henchmen out and about doing their rounds.
And what if servos choose not to be on the app?
Well, it doesn’t matter.
I know the RAA likes to talk the app up, but maybe fuel retailers could take up another suggestion.
Instead of telling small business operators to stay attached to their phones, why not allow voluntary signups on another basis?
There’s a company elsewhere in Australia that posts prices and allows you to lock that price in for a period of time, so if you’re caught in a queue, and prices go up during the queue, it doesn’t matter.
It works better than having bureaucrats go out and push around small retailers, and it means you don’t lose a good price just because you’re in a queue.
I get what the RAA and the state government are trying to do, but the fact that the government can’t get its inspectors to the EP, or the far north, or the south east, or the south coast, or other SA regions on a regular basis, means the usefulness of the app is seriously questionable.
Simplify the system, simplify the outcome and provide a greater benefit to consumers.
It’s simpler, provides a greater benefit to consumers, and means there’s less people employed by government to enforce adherence to the system.
Everyone wins, and all from being less narky and pushy around small businesses in SA.