COLES petrol stations are fleecing Sydney motorists, charging 4 cents a litre more than Woolworths and 9c/L extra compared with the cheapest chain of servos, new research by the consumer cops reveals.
BP is also dudding drivers, taking 3.5c/L more than the average across all retailers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report has found.
Based on prices across 2017, the least expensive chain was Speedway at 5.5c/L below the market midpoint.
The results suggested a car owner who bought 60L a week from Coles would pay $300 more per year than if they had bought from Speedway, and $125 extra compared to the cost at Woolworths stations.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said he was taken aback by just how much difference there was between the cheapest retailer and the most expensive, given the fuel being sold was almost always identical.
He said the pricing disparity had grown dramatically since 2007, when it was just 2.3c/L, so the decision about where to buy was now much more significant.
“I was surprised … that Coles and BP would be that much higher priced than Woolworths, 7-Eleven and United on the one hand and then the true independents on the other,” Mr Sims told The Sunday Telegraph.
“Those differences are huge — we are talking up to 9c/L.”
While some people were choosing to use price apps such as the NSW government’s FuelCheck to find an affordable place to fill up, a recent survey by the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association showed nine in 10 motorists always bought from the same one or two servos.
It was those consumers Mr Sims was hoping would act on the ACCC’s findings and break what could be a costly habit.
Mr Sims said it was not the case that cheaper stations were selling inferior quality petrol.
“You don’t have to worry about going into these places and getting some combination of fuel and water,” he said.
“They are getting their fuel from the majors.
“It usually comes from the same tank (as the petrol sold by BP and Coles).”
The main difference was inside the shop, he said.
Coles and BP had bigger, nicer outlets, he said.
“The independents often don’t have much of a store,” Mr Sims said.
“You can’t buy much more than a Coke and a pack of fags.”
A Coles spokesman said, “Coles Express always seeks to provide a competitive fuel offering to our customers, and our convenience stores lead the market in value on a range of food, drinks and everyday household needs at supermarket prices.
“In addition to the 4c/L fuel discount voucher received when spending a minimum $30 in Coles supermarkets, customers can also save 10c/L by spending a minimum $20 in Coles Express stores. The discounts can be used separately or combined to save a total of 14c/L.”
Extracted from Daily Telegraph.