Welcome to McKinlay in North West Queensland, home of the most expensive fuel in Australia.

Mark Smith stopped on Sunday at the town’s United Petrol outlet – which closed down last week leaving only the unmanned bowsers – and got a huge shock when he saw the fuel price on the bowser.

The price was a whopping 291.9c a litre and with no one manning the outlet there was no one to complain to and too bad if you didn’t have the fuel to go 80km south to Kynuna or 100km north to Cloncurry.

Mr Smith posted a photo of the bowser on Facebook with the comment “dearest fuel in Australia McKinlay Qld…price gouging at its finest…. 60 bux for 20L of petrol.”

Mr Smith tagged the United Petroleum Facebook page and invited them to “please explain”.

So far the company has not responded to the post and did not respond to the North West Star for comment.

However Debbie Wust from McKinlay’s Walkabout Hotel has an answer to the mystery.

Ms Wust said the price at the bowser is normally around $1.60 but they have several flickering power outages in McKinlay lately.

“When that happens the bowser goes to the highest price,” Ms Wust said.

“And now that it is automated it stays that way until someone comes to reset it.”

Ms Wust said someone had to drive 200km from Mount Isa to reset the bowsers on Sunday.

“But the power flicked again this morning so it probably has reset again,” she said.

Ms Wust said since the outlet went unmanned UP have had to send someone down from Cloncurry to dip the bowsers to check if they are running down.

“We’ve had people come in to the pub complaining since they went unmanned, but we have to tell them we do know anything about it,” she said.

Mr Smith said United advised him this was a pump issue and he would be refunded.

“However it still leaves God knows how many other travellers or locals that got fuel there overcharged,” he said.

Extracted from North Queensland Register