Chris Calcino, 06 January 2016

FUEL retailers have slammed reports of New South Wales petrol prices being artificially increased, arguing over-regulation of the state’s petrol industry is driving up costs.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari this week said Sydney drivers were paying $470 more a year for the same fuel as those in Melbourne because “companies in Melbourne were taken to court”.

He told ABC savings were not being passed on to NSW consumers because of “cartel-like behaviour”.

But Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association chief executive Mark McKenzie said the NSW Government’s tough regulations were to blame.

And things are about to get even worse, he added.

“We openly acknowledge that the retail fuel price cycle works on the basis of a sharp increase in prices, followed by a slow decline in prices as individual retailers seek to slightly better the prices offered by their competitors,” Mr McKenzie said.

“But this game of downward price ‘leap frog’ is a natural manifestation of competition in the retail fuel market – and one that is both openly acknowledged by our industry and regularly monitored by the ACCC.”

Mr McKenzie said the mandated sale of ethanol-blended petrol and a requirement for all service stations to install equipment to capture fuel vapours were peculiar to NSW.

The government is considering increasing its blended petrol mandate so ethanol makes up 6% off service stations’ entire output.

“The government is happy to point the finger at our industry but these two pieces of legislation alone mean that the infrastructure costs of selling fuel in this state are higher than any other Australian state or territory,” Mr McKenzie said.


Average daily unleaded prices for Tuesday

Sydney – 107.7

Casino – 115.1

Tweed Heads – 119.7

Grafton – 121.2

Coffs Harbour – 121.5

Lismore – 122.4

Murwillumbah – 129.4

Ballina – 130.6

Extracted in full from the Northern Star.