05 January 2015

Northern Territory motorists are paying more for diesel fuel than anywhere else in Australia, despite the wholesale price being at rock bottom.

On Tuesday, Darwin had the most expensive diesel of all capital cities at an average bowser price of 136.2 cents per litre.

The Automobile Association of the Northern Territory (AANT) said it was very disappointing retailers were not passing the lower fuel costs on to consumers.

The association’s CEO, Byron Henderson, labelled the current average profit margin of 35 cents a litre “completely unacceptable”.

“It’s not illegal for retailers to try and make as much profit as they possibly can, that’s why it’s important for people to shop around,” Mr Henderson said.

He said Puma, Coles and Woolworths collectively account for about 70 per cent of all fuel sold in the Territory and if people continued to support retailers who were charging too much, there would be no incentive for fuel stations to drop the price of diesel.

The AANT said a profit margin of about 10 to 15 cents per litre was within the range of what it claimed to be acceptable.

At the moment petrol prices in the Territory are at the higher end of that profit margin, with retailers selling unleaded petrol for 15 cents above the wholesale price.

In November last year the consumer watchdog, the ACCC, singled out the Northern Territory Government’s fuel arrangements for fleet cars as one of the impediments to proper competition.

The Government has an exclusive deal with Puma Energy, the largest player in the local petrol market.

Extracted in full from ABC News.