Jack Harbour, 19 February 2016

GOLD Coast motorists are benefiting from a glut of independent service stations driving down prices to leave locals with some of the cheapest fuel in Australia on average this week.

Having plummeted from 112c on Monday, Gold Coasters paid an average of 101c per litre for unleaded yesterday while Brisbane prices averaged 108c.

Fueltrac general manager Geoff Trotter said the whole southeast was benefiting from a discount in fuel as a result of an oil price collapse in recent months.

But Mr Trotter said independent fuel suppliers were flexing their muscles to deliver even cheaper prices on the Gold Coast.

“The reason why your Gold Coast average is lower than Brisbane is because … you’ve got quite a concentration of 7-Eleven outlets,” he said.

“It appears that wherever they’ve got a service station, they’re the lowest price in that area (on the Coast).

“The Gold Coast average is just over a dollar… and your lowest on the Gold Coast is 97.9c but you’ve got quite a few of the 97.9s.

“They’ve got a number of 7-Elevens in Brisbane but not the same concentration as on the Gold Coast, even though the prices they’re charging at 7-Eleven in Brisbane are 103.9.”

Depending on the brand, the wholesale price of fuel currently sits around 93 or 94c per litre.

Mr Trotter said 7-Eleven had made a clear decision to drop retail prices to drive traffic through their sites on the Gold Coast and said prices would continue to drop towards the wholesale price this week.

But Mr Trotter warned that once 7-Eleven’s retail price matches its wholesale price, the cost of fuel will skyrocket to about 110c a litre.

“When the lowest pump price in town gets down to the lowest wholesale price, that’s when they put the prices up,” he said.

“At the moment there’s about 4c difference between the lowest service station and the lowest wholesale price on the Gold Coast.

“If an independent such as 7-Eleven decides to drop the price, then all the others can do is follow them.

“Once they get to the bottom, you’ll get an equally rapid response when they put the prices up.”

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said the fuel cycle on the Gold Coast was unpredictable and said while prices were expected to continue to drop for the time being, she urged locals to capitalise on low prices.

“We’re in the discounting phase of the cycle at the moment,” she said.

“Usually what we find is that prices will fall a cent or two a litre each day but it has dropped quite a bit in the last few days.

“We expect prices to keep falling during this week.”

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission spokesman Duncan Harrod says across the board, Australian fuel prices currently match internationally low prices.

“Brent crude oil prices in December 2015 were at their lowest level in over 11 years, and were significantly below their long term average,” he said.

Locally, while Australian retail petrol prices are currently mostly reflecting the low international benchmark prices for crude oil, in the short term, prices reflect the pricing policies of individual retailers.”

Extracted in full from the Gold Coast Bulletin.