Margaret Wenham, 22 February 2016

CAN we please collectively get angry with the petrol companies?

While media reports talked up fuel dipping below $1 a litre over the weekend, out where I live at Kenmore the Woolies Caltex and the Coles Shell were both charging $1.13 a litre on Sunday.

As it happened I was nipping over the river to Durack so, even with just 15km of fuel left in my car, I ignored the local retailers, safe in the knowledge that petrol at the Oxley Woolies Caltex or Coles Shell would be cheaper.

It was. At 99 cents a litre it was 14 cents a litre or $6 a tank cheaper.

This morning the Kenmore Coles and Woolies servos had come down a couple of cents, in concert, of course, but, still, nowhere near under $1.

Interestingly the Coles Shell on Coronation Drive at Milton was charging $1.15.

I mean where the hell do they get off? Is it not enough that we’re subjected to the bullshit price cycle that doesn’t, I understand, happen anywhere else in the world? Do we also have to put up with price gouging from suburb to suburb?

Memo to Coles and Woolworths, and all the other retailers for that matter: Not everyone who lives in Brisbane’s western suburbs is a judge, lawyer or surgeon.

Meanwhile, the folk at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission continue to fiddle while consumers burn.

I laughed out aloud at ACCC chairman Rod Sims “attacking” the level of profits being made by retailers reported in a News Corp yarn a few days ago.

He’s apparently sent off a strongly worded “please explain” about retailers’ margins that are the highest in 14 years. “Retail margins have been stubbornly high for a long time,’’ he was reported as saying. “It clearly does reflect a lack of sufficient competition. It is a bit of a concern because it costs households a lot of money.”

Well dur, Rod, but, you do know, don’t you, that you’re the bloke in charge of the mob who are supposed to be in charge of competition … as in making sure there isn’t a “lack of sufficient competition” ?

Dead set, you’ve got to wonder. But, dear fellow motorist, while you’re marvelling at the head honcho at the ACCC going tsk tsk about the lack of competition, declare your own private war and, at the very least, make a pledge with yourself not to fill up at your local retailer(s) if they’re engaging in extra suburban gouging.

Extracted in full from the Courier Mail.