The state MP representing the Northern Tablelands is welcoming the announcement of a petrol market price study for Armidale, in northern New South Wales.

The study is part of petrol monitoring arrangements launched by the Minister for Small Business, the Hon Bruce Billson MP, in December last year, to try to explain why prices are higher in some regional locations.

Adam Marshall has pushed for the ACCC to investigate the high prices, with petrol in Armidale costing significantly more than in capital cities and similar-sized regional towns.

In December last year the monthly average difference between Armidale and the capital cities reached a high of 19.3 cents per litre, with a low of 2.4 per cents per litre difference in June this year.

Mr Marshall hopes the study uncovers evidence of the price gouging he believes petrol retailers are engaging in.

“Armidale motorists continue to be ripped off at the bowser by unscrupulous local fuel retailers,” he said.

“I said in parliament last year in the lead up to the ACCC investigation and I’ll say it again, local retailers are engaging in price gouging.

“There is absolutely no other rational explanation for why fuel is so much more expensive in Armidale.”

Companies throughout the supply chain will be required to provide information to the ACCC as part of the investigation.

Mr Marshall is looking forward to the insights from the study.

“I sincerely hope that the extra scrutiny that’ll be placed on retailers as a result of this market study will see local motorists finally given a fair go at the bowser,” he said.

“They’ve been ripped off for too long and I certainly hope that as a result of this one or two of these retailers gets put through the ringer and I’d really like the price gouging activities exposed and put to an end.”

The market study is the second ACCC investigation into fuel prices in Armidale, after the organisation examined the possibility of anti-competitive agreement and cartel conduct between fuel retailers.

That investigation found no evidence of agreements between competitors, according to ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.

“The only connecting variable between the two is that the reason a lot of people were thinking there was a cartel was because the petrol prices are as high as they are but there’s a whole range of reasons you could have that.

“Just because behaviour could be anti-competitive it doesn’t mean it breaches the Act.”

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