Trenton Akers, 19 October 2015

QUEENSLAND drivers are being robbed when it comes to paying for fuel, with new statistics showing greedy retailers are consistently charging up to 13¢ a litre more than they should be.

The “fair fuel price” statistics, compiled by the RACQ, takes into account a number of factors including the price of oil, the price retailers pay for the product in bulk and also reasonable costs and margins which the peak motoring body said were “more than generous”.

Records show that since March this year, motorists have consistently been paying well over what is considered a “fair price” by up to 13.3¢ per litre in some instances.

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said high retail margins, refinery margins and a high wholesale price all contributed to an inflated fuel price at the bowser.

A motorist who drives a six-cylinder car could have forked out up to $200 extra this year alone, with calculations showing a family who fill up a Holden Commodore weekly would have paid $160 more than they should have.

Southeast Queensland’s vicious “price cycle” also contributes to over-inflated prices.

“Many people may remember when the cycle was weekly and there were things like ‘cheap Tuesday’, however that is now long gone and it is much more confusing for motorists to get their head around,” Ms Smith said.

“What happens during the cycle is, while we’re in the cheap phase the prices are very low, sometimes around wholesale but when they go up, they shoot straight up … It’s often overnight we could see a raise of 20¢ per litre without any good reason.”

There were fears throughout the year when the average cost in Brisbane for unleaded fuel was $1.44 a litre that it was “the new Darwin”, a city renowned for consistently having the most expensive fuel, however an ACCC investigation saw petrol prices drop immediately.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed in August she would ask Cabinet to consider appropriate action to bring down the cost of petrol.

This year started with uncharacteristically low prices, with the average actually sitting below the RACQ’s “fair price” for January and February. However, the price had peaked by June when the average price hit $1.44 a litre.

Queensland’s market is dominated mainly by supermarket chains, creating an uncompetitive market, the RACQ said. “What we have is some stations not reducing their prices during the ‘cheap phase’ of the cycle because of that lack of competition,” Ms Smith said.

Sunshine Coast driver Ruth Cavill spends $60 a week filling up her Holden Astra.

“It catches you out how quickly the price rises. It always seems to go up so quickly but it takes a lot longer to come down, so I think that it is a bit unfair the way they do that,” she said.

“The cost of living is high enough as it is without having to pay more for petrol than what you have to, it all adds up.”

Extracted in full from the Courier Mail.