David Nankervis, 09 March 2016

HOLIDAY-MAKERS are at risk of being ripped of this Easter because many country fuel retailers are failing to pass on cheaper petrol prices, according to an RAA survey.

And Adelaide motorists have been warned by the RAA to cash in on cheap prices as the fuel discounting cycle reaches it lowest point.

The country towns where cheaper wholesale prices are not being reflected at the pump include some of the state’s most popular tourist destinations, including Port Lincoln, Naracoorte, Coober Pedy and Renmark, the RAA said.

Residents at Whyalla were also paying above the odds for fuel, as were those in Mt Gambier, Kieth, Loxton, Tailem Bend, Ceduna and Broken Hill, the state’s largest motoring organisation said.

RAA Senior Analyst Chris West said it was “disappointing to see so many regional motorists missing out on lower prices, especially since motorists in Adelaide are enjoying some of the lowest prices since 2005’’.

“With the Easter long weekend coming up, retailers should reflect on whether their prices are in-line with the falling wholesale prices and whether they’re cheaper than in neighbouring towns,” Mr West said.

“It’s about time the same savings are passed on to regional motorists.”

Mr West said a lack of competition was one reason for savings not to be passed on and he called on consumer watchdog the ACCC to put pressure on country retailers — as it did 12 months ago — to set fair prices.

The RAA’s latest Regional Fuel Ratings report compares the price of unleaded, diesel and LPG fuels at 18 towns and gives each a rating out of five.

Bordertown had the best overall rating overall last month, scoring 2.9 out of 5 which gave it an “average’’ rating.

With regard to unleaded prices, Mr West said many retailers were overpriced because recent falls in wholesale petrol prices should see costs of less than 110c/litre at the pump for most locations.

These included Naracoorte, with an average price yesterday of 118.1c/litre, Port Lincoln with 116.9c/litre, Whyalla 115.1c/litre, Mt Gambier 113.5c/litre, Renmark 111.4c/litre, Keith 111c/litre, Loxton and Tailem Bend at 110.9c/litre.

And despite their distance from Adelaide, petrol prices were also too high at the “gateway towns’’ of Broken Hill (123c/litre yesterday), Coober Pedy (134.4c/litre) and Ceduna (121c/litre), Mr West said.

“Even accounting for the extra transport costs, if the wholesale price savings had been passed on the pump price should be around 115-116c/ litre,’’ he said.

Mr West said Adelaide petrol prices had reached the “bottom of the pricing cycle’’ with yesterday’s average 97.4c/litre below the wholesale price of 99.5c/litre.

“So we are advising Adelaide motorists to fill up,’’ he said.

Extracted in full from the Adelaide Advertiser.

Extracted in full from the Adelaide Advertiser.