DARWIN locals with an AANT membership paid less than $1 a litre for fuel yesterday for the first time in more than a decade.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said petrol prices across the nation were at their lowest levels since 2002.

“The ACCC’s recent study into Darwin petrol prices delivered some much-needed transparency to motorists,” he said.

“Our study found Darwin petrol sites were making an average profit of around $1.2 million a year.
“This is huge when you consider the average profit for similar sites in Adelaide was between $100,000 to $200,000.”

Mr Sims said the main reason behind high prices and profits in Darwin had been weak retail competition.

According to the ACCC’s Darwin research, NT petrol prices were now at a five-year low.

A co-ordinated media campaign last year helped to rein in petrol overcharging, after prices climbed above 175 cents per litre (cpl) and prompted the ACCC investigation.

“We think increased scrutiny of Darwin petrol prices has resulted in some significant changes,” he said.

“Whereas in the years 2012-13 to 2014-15, Darwin prices were 16 to 20cpl higher than the average of the five largest capital cities, in August 2016 they were only 6cpl higher.”

Automobile Association of Northern Territory chief executive Byron Henderson said yesterday fuel sold for below the wholesale price of 110.5.

“They’re selling petrol at a loss — to get volume, which we traditionally haven’t seen in Darwin,” he said.

Mr Henderson said he was a “little surprised” at yesterday’s low fuel prices, but expected petrol prices to stay around this level.

Darwin’s cheapest pre-discount unleaded fuel sold at 103.9 yesterday and the most expensive was 119, according to data compiled by MotorMouth.

“We haven’t traditionally seen that gap (in prices),” Mr Henderson said. “To me, that points to an increase in competition … The key to low prices is competition.”

Mr Henderson encouraged Territorians to shop around for the cheapest fuel, in a bid to keep prices low.

Extracted from news.com.au.