AVERAGE petrol prices in Darwin rose 10c/L shortly after the closure of an independent outlet commonly known as having the cheapest fuel in town.

The Territory Government has recently referred the issue of petrol prices and potential collusion between operators to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate.

On Thursday, the government’s new fuel site MyFUEL NT showed only two Darwin outlets — FuelXpress in Winnellie and United in Parap — selling 91 unleaded at below 139.9C/L

All other 20 outlets throughout Darwin, remarkably, had listed the same price for their fuel.

Independent servo Platinum has long been the go-to outlet for motorists in the know, with prices regularly far below its competitors. But last week, the little store tucked away on Finniss St quietly shut off its bowsers.

Labor has copped criticism from the CLP and others for its price tracking website, which went online on Wednesday. Its detractors say it increases the potential for collusion by fuel retailers, leaving motorists worse off.

Fuel comparison website Motormouth warned the NT Government months ago of the danger. Company spokeswoman Claire Onraet on Thursday said providing the market with perfect real time data was risky.

“Only the retailers can say what has caused them to change their pricing … but when you have perfect data in the marketplace, it’s not just the motorists that are looking,” she said.

Ms Onraet said less perfect data better promoted competition between retailers by allowing motorists to compare prices, while still enabling servos to undercut one another.

An ACCC spokesman said the organisation welcomed initiatives such as MyFuel NT but said the introduction of more players to the market would likely lead to lower prices.

Extracted from: The Cairns Post

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