Friday, August 31, 2018

Costco Epping petrol station has significant impact on petrol prices in the area.

The recent opening of the Costco Epping store with the Costco petrol station has had an immediate impact on local petrol prices.

Whilst in the surrounding areas the price of petrol is close to the 140 cents range, around Costco the 7 Eleven prices are 131.7 and the Woolworths Petrol station at Epping Plaza is 127.7 and that's without using a discount docket. With discount the Woolworths Petrol station price would be 123.7 for unleaded petrol. That's currently a very good price and it looks like the lowest in Melbourne.

It will be interesting to watch how prices in the Epping area around Costco change over the coming months.

Kelvin Eldridge

Petrol prices in Melbourne have shown signs of increasing to 159.9.

So far two Woolworths Petrol stations have increased their prices to 159.9. With the average gate price of 137.2 (the wholesale) the price could have easily ended up in the 160 range so this is lower than expected.

Keep an eye on the petrol prices in the coming days and don't forget to lock in the lowest price you can find using the 7 Eleven Fuel app. Last night I filled up for 131.9 in Templestowe using a 7 Eleven locked price from South Morang. The posted price was 138.9.

Happy hunting.

Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hanging towels vertical or horizontal. Which dries faster?

Some people hang towels vertically and some people hang towels horizontally. As to the reason it's hard to say, some people believe hanging towels in one direction or the other helps the towel dry faster.

OK. This isn't exact science, but I decided since I had two towels which were the same, to hang one vertically and one horizontally. As you can see the towels were hung on a Hills type clothes line. This was in Melbourne and the weather wasn't that great. It was a 15 degree day. There was a short shower early on but the towels wouldn't have received much rain. The following is a table of the result.

The first column is the approximate time, the second the vertical towel's weight in kg and the third is the horizontal towel's weight in kg. The weight is measured in kilograms to two decimal places giving an accuracy of +/- 10 grams.

Time, Vertical, Horizontal
10:30 am, 1.19 kg, 1.19 kg
11:30 am, 1.03 kg, 1.03 kg
12:30 pm 0.73 kg, 0.73 kg
2:30 pm, 0.67 kg, 0.67 kg
3:35 pm, 0.66 kg, 0.66 kg

I must admit I was quite surprised to see no variation in the weight between the towels being hung vertical or horizontal. I didn't expect the drying times to overly differ, but even the weight of both towels being the same at the start surprised me.

In conclusion whilst this is not exactly a scientific test, hanging towels vertically or horizontally in order to achieve a faster drying time is busted. Now if you hang them vertically to take up less space, or horizontally to keep them higher above the ground to avoid catching on something, that's a different matter.

No matter which way you hang your towels, be happy you're making the right decision.

Kelvin Eldridge

Fitzsimons Lane roundabout upgrade media release in April 2018.

As a local who regularly uses Fitzsimons Lane and the roundabout on Porter Street, Williamsons Road, Anderson Street and Fitzsimons Lane, it's pretty obvious this is a traffic bottle neck.

A couple of years ago the Liberal State Government pushed through changes to fix the roundabout area, but really all they ended up doing was putting in bus lanes and causing more cars to stop in the roundabout by putting a pedestrian crossing 50 metres south of the roundabout. Certainly not the fix that was required.

I just read today the media release by the Victorian State Government of an allocation of $2.2 billion to fix the roundabouts at each end of Fitzsimons Lane in Templestowe and Eltham as well as Main Road and Leane Drive in Eltham.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any specific details of the plans so who knows what the end result will be.

Let's hope they do a better job this time.

Kelvin Eldridge

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Flight Centre article on ABC site mentioning consultants are marking up flight prices.

Yesterday I saw two items relating to Flight Centre I felt were interesting. The first was the article on the ABC site which mentioned some consultants marking up flight prices by 10-20%. According to the article this isn't illegal, but I feel it is interesting to know.

The second was an advertisement in a bus I was travelling. The advertisement was a Flight Centre advertisement advertising a guarantee they'll match the price if the price drops. In hindsight I should have taken a picture and checked if there was any small print, as all I can find on their site is this type of offer is provided at an extra charge.

I've long considered Flight Centre to be a reasonable company. I once lodged a complaint about advertising I felt was deceptive, but overall I've had little problem with them. I've used them quite a few times. I suggest to others that if they're happy to pay Flight Centre's charge for booking flights that's their choice. I book my own flights as I'm don't feel the need to pay the additional charge.

I was under the belief that by using Flight Centre I'd incur an additional cost which would be clearly stated, they have margins on some of the products they sell, they receive commission from their suppliers but not all products or services, but never once did I feel they'd take a supplier's price and then add a margin, particularly if that suppliers price is publicly available and known. It does make sense that they could do this, but isn't something I'd have expected. It's good to know.

We can't tell from the ABC article whether or not the flight prices the consultants are adding margin to are special prices for Flight Centre or not. In addition, many businesses if they purchase a product or service from another supplier at full retail price, will often add an extra margin without letting their customer know. That's not good business practice, but it is common.

The extra information provided by the ABC means if I now get a quote from Flight Centre then I need to make sure I check the price online of the flights first before proceeding with the quote. Of course that does mean if you now need to do that work, you may consider booking your flights direct, since you'll almost have done the work needed to book the flight anyway. If you prefer the confidence using a travel agent such as Flight Centre gives you, then checking flight prices may be wise, or you may simply be happy paying the extra money.

As an additional comment, from what I've read online, Flight Centre, Student Flights, Travel Associates and Escape Travel are part of the Flight Centre group.

Kelvin Eldridge

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Melbourne petrol prices increasing to 159.9.

Just returned from holidays yesterday to notice petrol prices in Melbourne are again returning to the peak price of around 159.9. We're approaching the end of the peak phase where most petrol stations have raised their prices, so if you haven't filled up the cheaper prices will soon be gone.

Just locked in the local 7 Eleven to hold the price at 133.9 for the next week.

Kelvin Eldridge
Petrol Prices Melbourne