Service stations across Queensland will be banned from promoting confusing discounts on forecourt petrol price boards.

The move, announced by Treasurer and acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt on Saturday, is designed to stop drivers being misled by prices which are linked to offers that may not be available to them.

“Calls for truth in petrol price advertising has long been a burning issue for motorists,’’ he told The Courier-Mail.

Motoring advocates welcomed the new laws, saying they would encourage competition and might help keep fuel prices down.

The new laws, approved this week by Cabinet, will ban the display of ‘‘conditionally discounted prices’’ such as those which require supermarket vouchers or in-store purchases.

Instead, fuel retailers will have to show ‘’what-you-see-is-what-you-pay’’ details on price boards.

Service station owners will have until January 31 to implement the changes.

“These reforms have been introduced because of ongoing concerns that some motorists may be paying more at the bowser than they were initially led to believe,’’ Mr Pitt said.

“These strict regulations mean fuel retailers will still be able to promote discount fuel-price schemes, but only the full price available to all motorists can be displayed on price boards.”

The reforms follow concerns raised at the government-ordered Fuel Price Summit last year, prompted by a Sunday Mail/Courier-Mail campaign highlighting Brisbane’s unwelcome rise to become the country’s petrol price rise capital.

The RACQ has lobbied hard for the price board changes. “This is a win for drivers,’’ spokeswoman Renee Smith said last night.

“It is fantastic news for the motoring public and for competition. It will enable drivers to shop around and fill up with confidence that’s the price they will actually pay.

“Too often now, it’s only when they get to the counter to pay that they realise the prices they saw advertised only apply if they buy bread and milk or something.

“The service stations currently use price boards to lure people in, often under false pretences.

Queensland will not follow other states in stipulating which types of fuel, such as unleaded, premium unleaded 98 or diesel — must be displayed.

Mr Pitt said the reforms struck “the right balance of protecting motorists and avoiding high regulatory costs which could unintentionally push petrol prices up’’.

An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation earlier this year also found prices in Cairns had been about 11 cents per litre more than in the five largest cities in the country for the past four years.

And the tropical city’s petrol stations have been making 38 per cent more profit on fuel sales than the national average, because of the lack of competition.

An ACCC report on the Brisbane fuel market is due soon.

Extracted from Perth Now.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE: