A PETROL station in Belmore and another just 3km away in Kingsgrove were the state’s cheapest and most expensive petrol stations respectively last month, showing what a farce the whole petrol pricing system­ is.

The average price for E10 petrol at Metro Fuel, Belmore, was $1.06, while at Coles Express, Kingsgrove, it was $1.32. Even yesterday, the difference­ between the two stations was $1.14 compared with $1.32.

Coles Express, Kingsgrove, also had the equal highest average price for unleaded 98 fuel at $1.55 and unleaded 95 at $1.48, tying in both instances with Coles Express, Carlton.

The government in August introduced the FuelCheck system to give motorists a real-time app to find the cheapest petrol and has drawn up the best and worst price performers for the past month.

The cheapest unleaded petrol was at Metro Fuel at Belmore, Costco at Casula and Metro Fuel at Fairfield, while drivers got stung with prices for unleaded 95 an average $1.46 and up to $1.48 at Kingsgrove, Carlton and Beacon Hill, and unleaded 98 an average $1.52 at Coles Express, Cammeray.

The figures show Western Sydney residents, who usually have the furthest to travel including more tolls, have the cheapest petrol.

Independent petrol stations are the cheapest as well.

“FuelCheck is a game changer,” Better Regulation Minister Victor Dominello said. “It transfers power from oil companies to motorists and allows them to save up to hundreds of dollars a year.

“Many families will be on the road during the school holidays and this innovative tool will empower them to find the best deal at the bowser.”

There are 2099 registered service stations on FuelCheck, which has had 733,024 uses since its launch with an average of 13,701 hits per day.

If the price at the pump does not match what is shown on FuelCheck, consumers can make a complaint directly to NSW Fair Trading.

The government found the overwhelming majority of cheap fuel is sold by independent service stations such as Metro, Budget and Speedway, with the most expensive petrol from big oil companies in more affluent areas.

The government is appealing to families to check FuelCheck more regularly to get the best deal, with school holidays approaching and many people hitting the road.

Australian Institute of Petroleum chief executive Paul Barrett defended the discrepancies in pricing.

“Each service station can charge what they see fit,” Mr Barrett said. “They’ll have different marketing strategies. People should shop around if the price is too high.

“It’s a free market and the ACCC has found it’s competitive — they’re free to charge what they believe they can charge.”

Extracted from The Advertiser