Prices for petrol in Australia have moved back more in line with the Singapore 95 unleaded international benchmark, following a recent warning by ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel.

Mr Samuel gave companies a week to fall in line with the benchmark or face being publicly exposed.

"The ACCC noticed a disparity from the first week in January. While there is usually a time lag of between seven and 10 days between movement in the Singapore price and Australian prices, that time lag had stretched out.

"Over the past week there has been a significant fall in petrol prices so that they now reflect more closely the Singapore international benchmark. We expect that average petrol prices will continue to move in line with this benchmark.

"Data on petrol sales volumes shows that on average across a price cycle around 60 per cent of petrol is sold at prices below the average of the price cycle, which suggests consumers are taking advantage of the cycle.

"The ACCC notes the spread of petrol discount schemes following the entry of Coles Express and the Woolworths/Caltex joint venture. A 2005 survey found that 73 per cent of motorists used these discount schemes ‘every or most times’ they bought petrol. Since the advent of petrol discount schemes, more than 500 of these schemes have been registered with the ACCC covering several thousand service stations.

"The majority of these involve localised arrangements with independently branded sites or independent fuel retailers. While the schemes initially focused on the two major supermarket chains they now also involve other retailers such as Metcash/IGA, Foodland, Dimmeys and the Servo Saver scheme.

"There have been suggestions that these discount schemes have resulted in higher petrol board prices by the supermarket chains. ACCC analysis shows that the prices of petrol being advertised by the retail chains are currently broadly in line with the market average.