Servos slug ‘captive’ premium fuel buyers at the bowser
Geoff Chambers, 01 March 2016
Motorists are being slugged 20c a litre extra for Premium 98 petrol compared with E10, delivering fuel suppliers a big profit margin.
Data obtained by The Australian reveals that Sydney drivers with cars that take premium fuel are experiencing the widest gap between premium and regular petrol in more than a decade.
And Brisbane motorists have experienced similar price gaps: Premium 98 is almost 20c a litre dearer than E10.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said, while drivers had experienced cheaper petrol in recent weeks, the increase in fuel categories was “concerning”.
“The hidden story is the increase in the gap between premium prices and regular unleaded. The gap now between E10 and Premium 98 is the highest it’s been for over 14 years,” he said.
“The NRMA is concerned oil companies know 98 users are a captured market because they need to use 98.
“The extra cost of making 98 … is approximately 2c to 3c a litre, and it in no way justifies a huge gap between the retail prices.”
Sales manager Belinda Macpherson, who drives a Toyota GTS86, said she usually shopped around for the best prices. “It’s really frustrating when people are filling up their cars for $30 and I have to fill up at $60,” said Ms Macpherson, from the Brisbane suburb of Bulimba. “With my car, it is the only option I have to fill up. What I’ve found is some of the independents are better priced than the bigger operators.”
Data supplied by the NRMA reveals a substantial gap in prices between Premium 95 and 98, as well as regular and E10 fuels, since 2012. Queenslanders consistently have paid more at the bowser than drivers in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, according to ACCC and RACQ data.
After seven years of exorbitant petrol costs, Brisbane and Gold Coast prices have fallen to 10-year lows in the past week. E10 averaged at 94.2c a litre yesterday.
“Prices could go up at any time … service stations in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast are selling at wholesale, if not below, so they’re currently relying on sales through the store to make their money. So the low prices won’t last,” RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said.
“Prices will likely jump by at least 20c per litre when they do go up so we’re telling people not to get used to the low prices.”
The Palaszczuk government is under pressure to adopt reforms in the fuel industry, and will host a roundtable summit tomorrow.
Ms Smith said the RACQ would urge the government to look at ways of “increasing transparency on fuel pricing”.
The RACQ has called on the ACCC investigate higher fuel prices between Brisbane and Cairns.
Extracted in full from The Australian.