While the cost of petrol around the country has dropped, Tasmanians are still paying high prices, thanks largely to the added costs of transport and the lack of competition.

And while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently suggested Australians could “shop around” to avoid being overcharged, local taxi driver Karmjit Singh said that came at an additional cost.

Mr Singh, who has been driving taxis for 14 years, said he was paying about $400 at the bowser each week.

“You have to run around to the different service stations to get the best price, and you’re already down in business so you’re wasting your fuel,” he said.

“As the business is already 50 per cent down due to COVID-19 and we’re still paying the higher fuel price, so it’s affecting our business a lot.”

In Sydney a litre of fuel currently costs 113 cents on average per litre, while in Melbourne it’s just 111 cents.

Tasmanians are paying 120 cents on average per litre.

‘Price gouging’ an issue

Australian Consumer and Competition Commission chair Rod Sims said the prices in Tasmania had reduced too slowly.

“Whether you call it price gouging, profiteering, they’re pricing too high,” he said.

The ACCC said it would not launching an investigation into Tasmanian fuel prices as they did not see any illegal activity occurring.

“Tasmanians are paying too much for petrol because there’s just a lack of competition, the Tasmanian petrol market is dominated by majors,” Mr Sims said.

While prices on the whole are higher on the mainland, some smaller independent retailers are trying to lower their prices, but consumers are struggling to know where to find the cheaper petrol.

Real-time pricing needed

Stacey Pennicott, General Manager of the RACT, believes Tasmanians need to be pointed in the right direction via real-time pricing, online.

“What we’ve seen over the past couple of months while the COVID pandemic has been in place is that Tasmanian motorists have paid almost $13 million more than what they should be paying,” she said.

“We have called repeatedly on the State Government to actually introduce real-time fuel pricing to address the issue.”

‘Stuck with higher prices’

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said it was something the State Government was actively looking into.

“Petrol pricing is something that concerns Tasmanians and we have had ACCC inquiries in the past, but still, our prices seem to be out of step with the mainland,” he said.

For now, Tasmanian’s are stuck paying the higher prices.

“It’s devastating when you know that you’re paying so much extra and you’re providing the same service,” Mr Singh said

“When you’re paying the huge price for the fuel, compared to the other states or compared to the world, it hits your business dramatically.”

Extracted from ABC