RELIEF at the bowser will be hard to come by for Gladstone motorists in the lead-up to Christmas.

That’s the message from Queensland’s peak motoring body, RACQ.

A late-October spike in the price of oil is expected to linger around heading in to the festive season with no substantial changes in retail prices of unleaded or diesel in Gladstone predicted in the next couple of months.

The RACQ’s Fair Fuel Price for Gladstone was 136.2 cents per litre yesterday, which is considered to be in the ‘high’ price range. The fair price for diesel was 132.8 cents per litre.

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said Gladstone motorists were still being ripped off despite a rise in the price of oil.

“Unleaded prices in Gladstone and Rockhampton are 2 to 2.5 cents per litre higher than what RACQ would consider fair,” Ms Smith said.

“Diesel prices are about right, with retail margins what we would consider fair.

“The cheapest sites in Gladstone are the Caltex on Chapple St and the Puma on Hanson Rd, both are selling ULP for a fair price. Motorists should buy from these sites.”

Ms Smith said the late October increase in the oil price saw unleaded and diesel prices jump by up to 10 cents per litre.

“Since then retail prices have been stable and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future,” she said.

Gladstone is still better-off when compared to Rockhampton, who recorded a fair price of 137.2 cents per litre yesterday, one cent per litre more than here.

However, Ms Smith says there is a simple explanation as to why Gladstone is cheaper, but it isn’t the determining factor in deciding price.

“It’s local competition that has the greatest effect on fuel prices in Queensland,” she said.

“The transport costs have very little impact on the price of fuel in Rockhampton compared to Gladstone.

“The extra cost of freight to Rockhampton adds about a cent to a litre of fuel.

“We estimate shipping (terminal to retailer) in Gladstone to be 1.1 cents per litre and Rockhampton shipping costs are 2.2 cents per litre.”

Ms Smith said Queensland motorists could save up to $70 million annually if a mandatory fuel price reporting program was rolled out across Queensland.

She said all political parties needed to commit to the scheme before the election.

“The only way to reduce the price at the bowser is to increase competition, which is driven by motorists buying from the cheapest retailer, but that information isn’t freely available,” Ms Smith said.

“Currently there isn’t enough data available through price comparison services, which means the cheaper retailers often go unnoticed.”

Extracted from: The Witsunday Times