When do petrol stations set their fuel prices?

I’ve just got back from a very early hospital drop-off and have been looking at where’s cheapest for fuel for when I go back for the pick-up, and it got me wondering about when stations update their prices. If unleaded was 148.9 yesterday and now it’s 150.9, there has to have been that moment when it changed, right? This question doesn’t apply to non-24h stations, but then I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those either. I’ve been driving for 10 years now at all times of the day and have never once seen a board change. So is it just a case of waiting until it’s quiet at graveyard o’clock and changing it then? Is there a “usual” time for it, or is there even some sort of law somewhere that says you have to do it at a certain time?

Fuel Price Dynamics

I believe with a lot of stations the price will change when they get a new tanker of fuel delivered. They’ll buy a tanker of fuel for X and plan to sell it for X + Y%. Have you ever seen a petrol station close to receiving a delivery of fuel? If you hung around, you may well have seen the price change (the pricing board will probably have been turned off during the process though, so I don’t think you’d see the price suddenly change).

Fuel Pricing Strategies

I guess it depends on if it’s a small independent or not. The big chain buys the fuel and then distributes it. The tankers are topping up tanks and hopefully, they’re not empty. The price changes in real-time rather than waiting for a delivery.

By ukpia