Samantha Healy, 10 December 2015

TOWNSVILLE motorists continue to pay some of the highest fuel prices in Queensland thanks to a whopping retail margin.

That’s despite fuel stations just 90km away in Ayr consistently selling the cheapest unleaded petrol and diesel in the state this year.

The RACQ Monthly Fuel Price Report for November shows Townsville drivers paid an average of 17.7c a litre more for unleaded petrol than Ayr motorists last month. The average price of diesel was not much better, with Townsville motorists paying 12.8c per litre more.

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said Townsville motorists should be fuming, with Ayr posting the cheapest statewide prices every month since June. “Townsville motorists should be angry but motorists all over the state are envious of drivers in Ayr,” she said.

The average unleaded price across Townsville was 132.9c per litre yesterday, but the RACQ believes a “fair price” would be about 121.9c.

The highest price for unleaded petrol found in Townsville was 137.9c a litre.

In Ayr, the average price was 116.3c per litre yesterday.

“The fact it is more than 10c per litre higher (fair price) is not on,” Ms Smith said. “The retail margin is far too high in Townsville.”

The RACQ report shows that the average retail mark-up across Townsville was 19.6c per litre last month. The mark-up in Ayr was an “exceptionally low” 0.5c per litre during the same period.

Ironically, the petrol that pours from the pumps in Ayr is transported from the Port of Townsville, where the terminal gate price (TGP) or wholesale price for unleaded was 111.7c per litre yesterday.

Shell Belgian Gardens on Bundock St had one of the cheapest unleaded prices in Townsville yesterday.

Owner Soren Nannestad said he purchased fuel early yesterday, dropping his ­prices to 125.9c per litre.

“The wholesale price has gone down and so has my price. I expect it to go down again on Friday,” he said.

Ms Smith said motorists should reward competitive servos in the lead-up to the holiday period.

“We have been saying for quite some time that there needs to be an investigation in to fuel prices in Townsville and North Queensland,” she said. “If the ACCC don’t have the powers to do that, then they need to be given the powers to act.”

Extracted in full from the Townsville Bulletin.