MOTORISTS are being stung by a lack of real-time fuel pricing data showing where to find the cheapest petrol as neighbouring service station prices vary as much as 18c/l, the RAA says.
The motoring body has been prevented from providing site specific fuel prices on its website since mid-September because of a deal between the fuel industry and ACCC, which aimed to provide greater fuel price transparency but instead unintentionally reduced the availability of price information.
RAA senior analyst Chris West said this meant fuel prices now varied widely both with and between regions that previously had comparable charges.
“Motorists are definitely disadvantaged because people can’t see the cheapest and most expensive prices on the same platform or the prices for all sites,” he said.
“It’s very hard to tell where the price differences are and whether it’s worthwhile driving an extra block to get fuel.”
The RAA website could previously reveal petrol price variations of up to 40c/l between the cheapest and most expensive sites across Adelaide — which could save motorists anywhere between $12 and $24 per 60L tank.
Now, it can only provide a daily average price for fuel in Adelaide and other SA locations.
Across the city on Monday, the RAA website showed the average unleaded fuel price was 121c/l, while the average diesel price was 120c/l.
Fuel analyst website motormouth.com.au — which provides unspecific price data for some sites — showed unleaded varied from less than 113c/l in the inner west and some sites along Hampstead and North East Rd, but cost 129c/l or more in northern suburbs and Golden Grove.
A Liberty outlet on Henley Beach Rd, Torrensville, was selling unleaded for 103c/l on Monday, while it was 121c/l at a service station less than two kilometres away at Mile End.
“We are talking about an 18c per litre gap between two neighbouring service stations,” Mr West said.
Mr West said unleaded prices expected to dip to 106c or 107c per litre by the end of the week. He said price spikes were now more unpredictable without reliable price data.
The RAA has urged the state government to implement a similar system to New South Wales where every retailer must report their fuel prices in real-time.
But Attorney General John Rau said introducing a service like the one available in NSW “would be at a cost to SA taxpayers to administer and create extra red tape for service station operators”.
He said SA introduced “a tougher code on transparency in fuel pricing in 2014” which made service stations display prices clearly and transparently.
Carissa Davison, 29, of Parkholme filled up at the South Rd BP in Mile End on Monday where unleaded was 121c/l.
“I have a normal route to work where I usually buy fuel for the convenience,” she said.
“If I notice one of the stations is cheaper I would definitely stop there.”
Extracted from The Courier Mail