Matt Maloney 31/5/16

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will release its investigation into Launceston petrol prices after the federal election.

The ACCC last year launched an in-depth investigation into prices paid at Northern bowsers along with two other Australian regional centres.

Chairman Rod Sims at the time described Launceston petrol costs as one of the biggest anomalies in Australia.

The investigation extracted cost and profit details along the supply chain from importers, transporters, distributors and retailers.

An ACCC media spokeswoman the report was close to finished yet but its authors were checking confidentiality issues.

“It may be ready close to the election, so we have decided to be on a path to put it out post-election,” she said.

RACT spokesman Darren Moody believed the ACCC did not want to see the findings politicised.

“But from our perspective, we would like to see it released during the campaign and see the politicians make a fuss about it,” he said.

Australian Institute of Petroleum figures indicate that the average price for unleaded petrol is at a four-month high nationally.

In Tasmania last week, the statewide average was $122.9 cents a litre, a rise of 1.4 cents from the week before.

The state’s regional average was a little higher at $123.7 cents a litre, a rise of 1.5 cents from the week before.

He said three months ago, it was hovering just above $1 a litre.

Mr Moody said there had been a steady creep in the wholesale petrol price over the past month to $1.18 a litre.

“I suppose this has all been reflected a bit in retail prices but the retail margins now are a lot more in line with our expectations,” Mr Moody said.

“Now the margins are between 8 to 10 cents a litre, whereas six months ago, they were around 20 cents a litre.”

He attributed fairer margins to increased competition amongst retailers and pressure from supermarket discounts and other promotions such as the RACT’s own six-cent discount.

The ACCC claims movements in regional retail fuel prices traditionally tend to be higher than capital city prices due to lower levels of competition, lower fuel volumes, higher transport costs and retail outlet locations.

It suggests that regional areas tend not to have price cycles like the cities and prices tend to change more slowly.

Extracted in full from The Examiner.