Daryl Passmore, 07 January 2016

FUEL companies once again ­siphoned higher prices from Queensland motorists than any other drivers in the country last month.

And Queensland drivers paid more for both unleaded and diesel than motorists in most other states last month, ­according to the RACQ’s analysis.

The average unleaded price for Brisbane was 123.9¢ per litre – 5.4¢ more expensive than Sydney, 3.7¢ higher than Adelaide and 2.8¢ dearer than Melbourne.

The 124.3¢-per-litre average paid at Brisbane bowsers for diesel was 5.7¢ more than Melbourne, 5.3¢ up on Adelaide, 3¢ higher than Sydney and 1.8¢ pricier than Canberra.

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said southeast Queensland motorists paid 10¢ a litre too much to fill up with unleaded last month.

“Taking into account current conditions, a reasonable price would have been 113¢per litre,’’ Ms Smith said.

“There is no reason we should be paying more than motorists in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.”

Crude oil prices were at an 11-year low, “yet fuel prices are higher than they should be”.

The RACQ is pointing the finger at refineries, saying they took advantage of low international oil prices to grab margins that were almost four times higher in December than the same month a year ago.

“This inflation in price can be attributed to significantly increased refiner margins,” Ms Smith said.

Analysis by the motoring organisation’s economists had found that refiner margins were 3.8¢ per litre in December 2014, but almost quadrupled to 14.5¢ last month.

“There is no reason for this extreme inflation and we are disappointed motorists are having to wear these costs.”

But industry body the Australian Institute of Petroleum rejected the claim, arguing that any hike occurred elsewhere in the supply chain.

“Refiner margins are determined by international prices. The same refiner margin ­applies to every litre of fuel sold in Australia,” AIP deputy executive director Paul Barrett said.

A group representing service stations said the reasons for differences were complex.

Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers ­Association CEO Mark McKenzie said wholesale prices varied between fuel terminals, and depended on who they were selling to, while retail margins were influenced by local competition.

Margins also differed between company-owned and operated servos and independently owned franchises.

Those owned directly by fuel companies or supermarket chains dominated the market.

Extracted in full from News.com.au.