Will people use FuelWatch?

I am testifying before the Senate on FuelWatch today (more on that after the event). But Bill Tancer writing on the Freakonomics blog has an interesting post today on consumer behaviour and petrol prices. He shows that there is a correlation between the level of petrol prices and consumer visits to websites allowing them to find the cheapest deals. Here is his graph

and here is what he writes as he delves down into the demographics:

To understand this trend further, I analyzed the demographics of visitors to the most visited gas comparison site, gasbuddy.com, over the last four weeks. Visitors to the site were predominantly older (49.57 percent of site visitors were 55 years old or older) with fixed or lower incomes and 47.34 percent were from households earning under $60,000 per year).

This is a dramatic departure from the demographics of that same site in June 2007. At that time, the largest income segment of visitors to the site was households earning over $150,000 per year (25.69 percent). Today the upper income segment accounts for only 9.6 percent of Gasbuddy’s site visitors.

So this tells us who the government is likely to pick up votes from as a result of FuelWatch. No wonder the Coalition can afford to be dead against it.

One thought on “Will people use FuelWatch?”

  1. Something to be remembered is that people (under the WA scheme, at least) can use FuelWatch without going to the FuelWatch website. The West Australian prints the day’s lowest price and its location for both the North and South metro areas. This is on the front page every day along with a weather summary. Radio stations also read out the day’s cheapest prices, and it’s featured on each evening’s news (ie. they let consumers know in advance what the following day’s cheapest price and location will be).

    A lot of people therefore derive benefit from FuelWatch without ever going to the website, or even being aware of the scheme itself.

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