Tony Moore, 07 September 2015

Petrol companies must be forced by state government legislation to show the full price of petrol on the big display boards outside petrol stations and stop displaying discount prices, the RACQ says.

An attempt to set national standards for fuel price boards outside servos has stalled and now the RACQ is calling on Attorney General Yvette D’Ath to set up Queensland standards.

The RACQ says motorists are being lured to stop thinking they can buy petrol at the discounted prices advertised on the fuel price board outside the service station.

RACQ’s external manager public policy Michael Roth said motorists stop, pull in to the service stations and subsequently find they cannot buy at the discounted price.

Mr Roth said COAG’s consumer affairs forum had for several years tried to develop “national information standards” for service stations but had failed.

“Now they haven’t succeeded with that, so three states have gone it alone – New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia  – all have their own standards for fuel price boards,” Mr Roth said.

“Queensland does not have any, so we are asking the state government to implement our own regulations,” he said.

The New South Wales government made the change in 2013, forcing signs to show the full price.

The RACQ has previously asked the Queensland Government to be part of the national approach, but now believes that approach has failed.

“That appears to have failed and we want specific statewide standards now.”

Mr Roth said the petrol-price situation in 2015 was a hangover from the petrol price shopper docket schemes advertised by Woolworths and Coles.

“But we still want the discount prices gone. We figure that if people have a shopper docket or access to a particular discount they will know that,” Mr Roth said.

“So the price on the price board should be the full price,” he said.

“Anyone should be able to pull in and purchase the fuel at that price.”

Mr Roth said discount fuel traps were common around the Greater Brisbane area and in parts of regional Queensland.

“We are still finding that Coles and Woolies – and even some of the independents – are offering discounted fuels and you have to buy a Mars bar and a can of Coke to get fuel at that price,” he said.

Mr Roth said the recent government push on ethanol fuels was also complicating the issue.

“So it happens to a lot of motorists where they see the sign saying $1.29 per litre, they pull in and they end up having to pay $1.36 per litre for fuel, because that $1.29 cents per litre was a discounted price for E10 (ethanol blend).

“So that’s the problem we’ve got.

“So we figure that since three other states have done it wouldn’t be too hard for Queensland to develop our own standards for fuel price boards.”

The RACQ wants four full prices on the fuel boards outside service stations.

1 – Full prices for two petrol grades – regular and premium, or E10 and premium;

2 – Full diesel price

3 – Full LPG price

“That is all we want,” Mr Roth said.

“The full price of two petrol grades and the full price of diesel and the full price of LPG,” Mr Roth said.

Attorney General Yvette D’Ath has written to the RACQ and said the Queensland Government would contribute to the national process.

“But the national process has been ongoing for a number of years and it hasn’t amounted to anything,” Mr Roth said.

“We think that is not good enough anymore and we have raised statewide standards again.”

Attorney General Yvette D’Ath could not be contacted on Sunday, however a spokeswoman for Ms D’Ath said Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading was examining the situation in New South Wales.

A full response to the RACQ’s request will be provided on Monday morning, the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile petrol price monitoring agency FuelTrac also supports statewide standards for petrol price boards.

FuelTrac general manager Geoff Trotter has highlighted problems where fuel companies are charging almost 32 cents more than the terminal gate price at some bowsers around Brisbane.

The terminal gate price is the wholesale price of fuel at a fuel depot.

Extracted in full from the Brisbane Times.