Australia's peak motoring organization, the NRMA, claims it has found proof of oil companies gouging prices. By comparing the price of petrol at the pump to the price of international crude oil, the NMRA says it found evidence of collusion within the oil industry.

The “smoking gun”, according to the NMRA, is that prices at the pump fell sharply upon announcement of a government inquiry into the subject on June 15 - despite an upward trend in crude oil prices. The company claims this shows that prices before the announcement were either unfairly high or the oil companies have suddenly decided Christmas should come early this year, according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald. The oil companies deny the allegations, of course.

While this specific example is limited to Australia, the oil industry is a global affair. The same companies that operate in Australia operate throughout the world, raising the question of whether prices are being similarly manipulated in other countries. Similar evidence of price gouging has been found in the United States, but the FTC cleared the industry of any wrong doing.

The NRMA now wants the Australian Federal Government to give its consumer watchdog association the ability to regulate oil prices, just like it does with water, electricity, and natural gas.