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Nat`l Oil Corp. Lists Fuel Prices on the Internet

Posted April. 16, 2008 03:26,   


A Web site (www.opinet.co.kr) began providing information on gasoline and light oil at gas stations across the nation on Tuesday, but the server was down all day due to over demand.

Users also complained that some prices of gas stations on the Web site were different from actual retail prices.

However, many consumers expressed satisfaction, saying, “Now, I can find the cheapest price when oil prices surge.”

The Web site crashed as soon as it began servicing at 9:00 a.m. Users could not log on the site effectively.

The Korea National Oil Corporation, which runs the Web site, said, “The system broke down since the number of users trying to log on the site reached over 16,000 per second, far larger than our initial estimation of 1,000 users. We’ll increase server capacity and the site should run without any difficulties from Wednesday.”

In some regions, angry consumers complained about the price gaps between those on the Internet and actual retail prices.

For example, the Web site showed that a gas station in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province sold gasoline for 1,539 won per liter, the cheapest in the northern part of Gyeonggi Province. However, the actual retail price was 1,699 won per liter, 160 won more expensive than the price listed on the Web site. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the KNOC began an investigation into the price gap since similar cases emerged in Daejeon and Gwangju.

A source from the ministry explained, “The price at Opinet comes directly from an electronic network connected with credit card firms. That means it is unlikely to have errors. However, it is possible for the Web site not to reflect the latest price since gas stations adjust and input oil prices every week.”

The ministry will impose a two million won fine on gas stations uploading false information on the Web site.

For their part, consumers said that they would make good use of the information, despite the inconvenience they experienced due to a system failure, Tuesday.

Kim Byung-cheol, a 39-year-old resident in southern Seoul, said, “I found that price differences among gas stations in Gangnam-gu reached 153 won per liter. I can save 200 won per liter if I gas up my car at a gas station that offers credit card discounts.”