New laws give fuel price apps the edge in NSW

PETROL stations across New South Wales will be required to notify the public every time their fuel prices change under new laws before parliament.

Motorists could then whip out their smartphones, click on an app and instantly discover where to get the best bang for their buck.

Two app developers are already making a foray into the world of point-of-sale fuel, including United States company GasBuddy, which launched in Australia last week.

The crowdsourcing GasBuddy app asks motorists to submit fuel prices for specific retailers, which can then be accessed on smartphones.

"Australia has some of the most volatile fuel prices in the world, with 89% of motorists thinking they pay too much at the pump," GasBuddy spokesman Ivan Silvagni said.

"GasBuddy has responded to this consumer frustration, first in North America and now in Australia.

"We say 'gas', Australians say 'fuel'. Luckily, we all understand saving money."

Convenience store and petrol station chain 7-Eleven launched an app of its own last week allowing drivers to "lock in" its best fuel prices for a week.

The 7-Eleven Fuel App lets motorists search their five nearest 7-Eleven service stations to find the lowest prices, then redeem petrol for that amount within seven days at any of the chain's outlets across Australia.

"Unlike fuel discount schemes, the Fuel App doesn't require customers to spend money in-store to redeem fuel savings," 7-Eleven digital marketing manager Paul Wallace said.

Innovation Minister Victor Dominello said the government reforms would go a step further.

"The current market players like those mentioned earlier are important, but crowdsourcing fuel data in NSW is still a model that is in its early stages, which means that there are data gaps in these platforms," he told parliament.

"Namely, not all petrol stations are necessarily covered, and the prices are not always contemporaneous.

"This legislation will provide a dataset that is mandatory, more reliable, has greater saturation and is authenticated by NSW Fair Trading.

"This legislation represents the next logical step in this process.

"All petrol stations will be required to provide their fuel price in real-time, meaning reliable information that captures the entire market - from big players like BP and Caltex to the corner store petrol station." - ARM NEWSDESK

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