Grace Mason, 29 February 2016

A FURIOUS Cairns motorist has called for local service stations to lift their game after filling up in Innisfail for less than a dollar a litre.

Phil Keats said he spotted the discounted price at the United station near Mourilyan on his way to Cardwell on Saturday and dropped in to fill up later on the return trip.

He said it was the first time he had filled up for less than $50 for years and was angry to see Cairns stations had not followed suit.

“Somebody has got to do something about it,” he said.

“They’re ripping us off. The ACCC must be a toothless tiger and our politicians don’t care because they don’t pay for it.”

According to the RACQ, the average fuel price in Cairns yesterday was $1.22, while Innisfail was $1.14.7. Fuel pricing in Innisfail turned into all-out war on Saturday after United opened its doors for the first time at the discounted price.

Other stations followed suit with some sitting below the $1 mark on Saturday and hovering at about $1.02 yesterday.

United station manager Santosh Kaspa said they had lines out on to the Bruce Highway and had served almost 1000 people on Saturday.

“Everyone was very, very happy,” he said. “It was like they never saw this price in the last 10 years. As a business owner, I feel sorry for independent (stations), but the bigger companies could have done something before.”

He said they were vowing to continue undercutting every station in town.

Louis Del Sal filled up at United yesterday and said the discount prices had become the talk of the town.

“You don’t see it often,” he said. “Hopefully (it will stay cheap), but it will probably go back up, that’s what I think.”

He said the station had been “packed” when he was there, and, despite living in town, had made a special trip out there to take advantage of the low price.

“Keep it cheap, that’s what we like,” he said.

The RACQ is lobbying the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate Cairns, while the State Government is holding an inquiry into petrol pricing.

Extracted in full from the Cairns Post.