STATE and Gold Coast Opposition MPs are urging Queensland Government fast-track its real-time fuel-pricing plan for the sake of motorists “ripped off” at the bowser.
Queenslanders typically pay the highest prices in the country — and $6 more on average per tank than motorists in NSW which has a real-time petrol price-monitoring policy.
Public anger at fluctuating prices is rising fast with more than 55,000 motorists nationwide saying joining a National Fuel Strike on October 26. It was organised last week on Facebook by fed-up Bundaberg music teacher Sabrina Lamont who says petrol prices forced her to quit long-haul travel for lessons.
RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said boycotting stations for a day wouldn’t impact price but making an effort to regularly avoid those sites with higher prices would.
“Do your research before you head out to fill the tank to ensure you are getting the best deal and only ever buy from the cheapest retailer in your area.
“If all drivers only gave their business to the cheapest servos, we’d send a very strong message to those charging fuel prices that we won’t cop it.”
On the Gold Coast yesterday, the RACQ Fair Fuel tool estimated a “fair” price per litre was $1.499 for unleaded with some stations as low as $1.439 and others above $1.60.
LNP’s Member for Surfers Paradise John-Paul Langbroek said he was stung almost $1.70 per litre at a station driving back from Brisbane to the Gold Coast yesterday.
He baulked and stopped at $30, saying he’d fill the rest of his tank when he found a cheaper price.
“These companies are gouging Australians. When the Australian dollar is weak — which it supposedly is at the moment — petrol goes up, but it’s not that weak.
“It seems they are gouging through school holidays and the lead-up to public holidays and no one does anything about it.”
Earlier this year, State Government committed to a trial for real-time fuel monitoring. From December, it will require fuel retailers to report petrol price changes within 30 minutes. The price changes will have to be made available to smartphone apps and websites including Motormouth, GasBuddy, PetrolSpy, RACQ and Compare the Market.
But the Opposition are critical it is a two-year trial with a grace period from fines until April for retailers who fail to comply.
Deputy Opposition leader Tim Mander said: “We called on State Government to introduce fuel price monitoring six months ago and dragged them kicking and screaming to agree.
“Now it is not until December and even then they are only doing a trial — so they are not fair dinkum.
“If they were serious they would do it immediately. This stuff is not rocket science. We believe the biggest issue is lack of competition and in Queensland we pay the highest prices in the country which is why real-time fuel price monitoring works in other states,” Mr Mander said.
“NSW pays $6 per tank less on average and that is credited to real time price monitoring. It’s a simple thing to do.”
Broadwater Opposition MP David Crisafulli said in the era of increased connectivity it shouldn’t be a difficult to require real-time price monitoring.
RACQ’s Ms Ross said prices in southeast Queensland were falling right now and motorists should wait a few days before filling up.
But she anticipated the next price hike could go to the “highest levels we’ve ever seen” due to rising global oil prices and a softening Australian dollar.
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham has promised the trial will let motorists find the cheapest fuel via smartphone from December.
“This trial is about rewarding competitive fuel retailers.”
Currumbin resident Bianca Calder, 23, works in Brisbane, and said it’s cheaper to catch the train to work than fill up her car.
“I spend $120 a week to catch the train from Robina Station,” Mrs Calder said.
“On top, I’m spending money on fuel to drive from home to the station. So it gets very expensive when fuel prices are high.”
Extracted from Daily Telegraph