Increased retail profit margins have prompted the RACT to again call for government legislation to tackle petrol prices.

RACT Member Assist general manager Darren Moody said the gap between the wholesale and retail petrol price was again “unacceptably high”.

The disparity comes less than one month after a Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report into Launceston fuel prices showed the gap was narrowing.

Mr Moody said the gap showed a lack of transparency in fuel pricing.

“In the previous six months to June we saw the price gap narrow to a fair and reasonable point, but now the gap has widened to be unacceptably high,” Mr Moody said.

“The RACT is again calling on the Tasmanian government to introduce legislation that will force retailers to publish prices in real-time.

“Greater transparency and better price information for consumers willultimately lead to better price competition,” he said.

Mr Moody says websites and apps for tracking fuel prices don’t provide enough data or are often out of date or inaccurate.

The wholesale petrol price sat at 103.3 cents per litre as of Thursday, about 15 cents cheaper than in June.

In contrast, the retail price has dropped by just six cents since June, with prices fluctuating at retail outlets throughout the state.

New data shows some Launceston petrol outlets have offered fuel at 117.9 cents a litre, while others are charging up to 123 cents.

Motorists on the North-West Coast are paying about 119 cents a litre, while near Hobart fuel can be found for about 109 cents a litre.

The government said introducing legislation would not create the competition needed to drive down the price.

“Imposing more red tape on business to tell Tasmanians what they already know – that petrol prices are too high – is not the solution,” a government spokeswoman said.

“The report confirms the need for more competition to drive down prices, which the government supports and has always said is the best solution.”

Labor has promised to establish a Fuel Price Oversight Officer to monitor and collect fuel price data, if elected at the 2018 state election.

Labor finance spokesman Scott Bacon said the Opposition would support a website that collated real-time prices.

“New legislation will require retailers to display daily fuel prices in real time on a public website so motorists can quickly identify the cheapest fuel price in their area,” he said.

“Additionally Labor will require service stations to display only undiscounted fuel prices on fuel boards and roadside signage.”

Extracted in full from The Advocate.

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