The Northern Territory Government has referred a recent spike in petrol prices to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after criticism of bowser “rip offs”.

The Labor Government said it was “deeply concerned” by a recent hike that saw prices in the greater Darwin region rise at all but two petrol stations.

It said the Treasury Department spoke with the ACCC on Monday afternoon and referred the matter to them.

The government said the introduction of a new app to track petrol prices, to be launched on Wednesday, would help improve price transparency and competition.

The app cost $240,000 over two years to develop and will cost $250,000 ongoing from 2017 to 2018 for administration, compliance and enforcement.

It comes after a Northern Territory politician accused fuel stations or ripping off motorists, after the price of petrol rose sharply in Darwin in just a few days despite a fairly steady wholesale price.

Independent MLA Gerry Wood said he travelled from Palmerston to Pinelands and recently and noticed petrol prices had jumped.

“Every service station was 139.9 [cents per litre] and I thought ‘well that is a bit strange, I normally see a bit of variation’,” Mr Wood told ABC Local Radio Darwin.

He said when he checked the terminal gate price, which is the wholesale price for fuel, and it had barely changed from a week earlier and was sitting around 121.3 cents per litre, when prices were averaging a little above 130 cents per litre.

“So here we are going past these service stations last night, nearly nine cents dearer, with the gate price being exactly the same,” Mr Wood said.

“Either there has been collusion or there has just been a deliberate move to rip people off.”

Claire Onraet who is a spokeswoman for fuel price monitoring site Motormouth said price rises could occur for many reasons and it was not necessarily a sign of collusion between the fuel stations.

“It [the price of petrol] has certainly adjusted to something,” Ms Onraet said.

She said something in the supply chain or an increase in compliance costs could possibly account for the price rise.

“I wouldn’t say it is collusion. There would be something,” she said.

Extracted from: ABC News