A motoring body says the high cost of petrol across Tasmania “might be realistic” as Launceston prices fail to drop after an investigation by the competition watchdog was announced almost two weeks ago.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said petrol prices in Launceston were among the highest in the country.

When the investigation was launched, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the price difference appeared to be getting worse.

“The average annual retail petrol price in Launceston was 162.6 cents per litre in 2013-14, some 12 cents per litre higher than the five largest capital cities,” he said.

“Furthermore, this differential has doubled since 2009-10.”

Mr Sims also told 936 ABC Hobart, at the time, that he expected to see a fall in prices simply in response to the announcement of the investigation.

He said he that was what had happened during a similar investigation in the Northern Territory.


“There’s been suggestion that petrol prices are a little bit lower [in Darwin] than they otherwise would be simply because the market is under scrutiny and people are making sure they’re behaving in a slightly different way,” he said.

“That’s been a suggestion, it’s impossible to prove it.”

But since the launch of the investigation there has been no such fall in prices in Launceston.

Tasmanian Automobile Chamber of Commerce general manager Malcolm Little said that indicated petrol was not overpriced in Launceston.

“I think Rod’s comment would probably be relevant to a market that knows it’s overpriced and therefore would react to their investigation,” he said.

“Possibly what we’re seeing here is a suggestion that the price might be realistic and the market’s not particularly concerned about the inquiry.”

Mr Little recommended against comparing the price of petrol in Launceston with mainland prices.

“There are extra costs associated with our geo-graphics, the size of our economy and the like, so I suspect that there is a difference,” he said.

“Unfortunately comparison with mainland prices is rarely truly discussed about the facts.”

Extracted in full from ABC.