Daryl Passmore, 31 December 2015

SOUTHEAST Queensland’s petrol price cycle has been branded a fabrication, designed by fuel companies to gouge maximum profits from motorists.

“It’s an absolute contrivance,’’ said Geoff Trotter, general manager of price-monitoring agency FUELtrac.

“The so-called price cycle does not bear any relationship to the actual price of the fuel or the costs of ­getting it to service stations. We need to call time on this fabrication.

“Motorists cannot understand why it is that petrol prices are predicted to go back up to 130c a litre in Brisbane in a week or so when oil prices are at their lowest level in 11 years. The reason they can’t understand it is there is no reason for it.’’

The RACQ agrees there is no rationale for the ­fluctuating cycle, which is becoming increasingly unpredictable. But the motoring organisation says drivers can benefit from it, depending on how often they need to fill up.

Mr Trotter is calling for a system of price-capping based on the underlying international oil price and “reasonable’’ refinery, wholesale and retail margins.

He said motorists would be happier paying a stable price they knew was based on solid factors than facing “pump shock’’ every few weeks.

“Australia is the only petrol market that has this fake price cycle. It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.’’

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this month said retail margins were at their highest level since it began monitoring 13 years ago.

Mr Trotter said: “The long-term effect (of the price cycle) is that fuel companies have been able to push their average margins higher.

“They are now embedded, so when international oil prices do eventually rise again, we’ll end up paying over $2 a litre – and that’s really going to hurt.’’

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said: “It is unpredictable and it’s hard for motorists to keep track of. It used to be weekly, then fortnightly, and now the cycle seems to last a month or so.”

Extracted in full from the Courier Mail.