SERVICE station owner Ross Donovan wants attacks on local operators to stop, stating tight margins show he and other fuel outlets are not ripping motorists off.

Mr Donovan, who runs the Caltex at Yabulu, said he was tired of his staff being abused over fuel prices he had little control over.

He said: “Over the 33 years I’ve been in the business I’ve heard it time and time again how we’re ripping people off …

“At the moment I’m making about 1.5c of profit for every litre of fuel and when you then include all the costs of owning and running a business, I can assure you we’re not profiteering,” he said.

“At certain times when customers pay with credit cards we’re basically running a loss.”

Mr Donovan said anger at fuel prices was misdirected.

“When we sell fuel today for 112c/L the Government gets about 56c,” he said.

“All that money comes out through the GST and excise tax and then on top of that at the end of the year I pay tax on the profit margin as well.

“It’s never the Government that cop the abuse but here I am making a loss when I sell a litre of petrol or diesel.

“I’m so sick and tired of my console operators being accosted and accused of being thieves,” Mr Donovan said.

There was also a misconception of a “conspiracy” among service stations.

“When I leave my home I drive past my opposition and check their price. If they go up, I go up and vice versa.

“I can assure you there’s no mystery agreement between us all and it’s as simple as that.

“But … the RACQ and other advocacy groups attack the local businesses when they don’t have a clue.

“It’s just wrong to think we’re profiteering and it’s a continual cycle.”

The RACQ Fair Fuel Price website says the region’s average price of 113c/L is fair.

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said Townsville motorists were not being ripped off with current prices.

They were getting a much better deal than those in Cairns, “where the average is 130c,” she said.

Extracted in full from Townsville Bulletin.