The impact of price on Australian consumption of petrol and diesel|
by Dave Kimble at www.peakoil.org.au
The charts presented below use data sourced from Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) which is a Federal Government agency. The data is published quarterly in "Mineral Statistics". "Sales" refers to Production + Imports - Exports +/- tankage fluctuations.
There is a pattern in the variations of quarterly sales,
with fourth quarter (Australian summer) being the highest.
When the seasonal variations are pooled into annual figures,
the 2004 - 2005 drop-off in petrol sales becomes evident.
The world oil price used to be regulated by supply under the "OPEC Agreement"
between OPEC and OECD to be in the bracket US$22 - 28 per barrel.
This arrangement ceased to be maintained in December 2003, and in August 2004,
OPEC announced that it didn't have any spare capacity to enable them to increase supply immediately.
(This announcement was withdrawn the following day, but the supply didn't increase)
Prices rises for retail fuels didn't filter through until mid-2004.
The seasonal variations in diesel sales are less consistent, but they are still there.
As you can see, the annual data shows diesel sales rising at a steady 2.9% p.a.,
with no drop-off in 2004-5.
This is consistent with the idea that diesel is used mainly for commercial purposes,
while petrol is used more for discretional travel purposes,
and so is more elastic in response to price changes.
Australian oil production peaked in March 2000,
and self-sufficiency in diesel ended in September 2002.
By December 2005, Australia is importing 33% of its diesel consumption.
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