“There’s an old saying about country drivers — they pay more for petrol,” says RACQ spokesperson Vivien O’Connor.

But now, Queensland’s peak motoring body has started to see patterns in fuel prices once only seen in the city.

The RACQ said it believes a price cycle — where petrol prices fall and rise over several days — is starting to develop in Toowoomba.

“Toowoomba was one of the first places to notice prices get below 110 cents per litre,” Ms O’Connor said.

“What we noticed during COVID, when the global oil price dropped, we saw prices dip below 90 cents per litre.

“It is a highly competitive market.”

‘Not a good time to fill up’

But the RACQ said prices in Toowoomba were not falling as quickly as in places like Brisbane, Ipswich, and Gold Coast.

“It certainly is not a good time to fill up the tank in Toowoomba, unless you can visit one of those fuel companies who are charging prices around $1.15,” Ms O’Connor said.

The RACQ said the average price of petrol in Toowoomba this week was around 133.9c/l, up from 121c/l last week.

Ms O’Connor said while the price cycle was still adjusting, motorists would have more power in driving down petrol prices.

“If they’re supporting the retailers that are still holding on to those cheaper prices in the hike phase, and the expensive phase, they’ll able to generate a little bit more competition at the moment,” she said.

COVID recovery

But the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA), which represents thousands of service station owners, has disputed the claims.

CEO Mark McKenzie said he believed the recent behaviour of petrol prices in Toowoomba reflected a recovery in the petroleum industry.

“These changes appear to be associated with market recovery from the unprecedented COVID-19 downturn, rather than the emergence of a conventional petrol price discount cycle,” he said.

Mr McKenzie said aggressive discounting by a new petrol station in Toowoomba explained the difference in prices in the city.

“Past experience with these situations is that average fuel prices can be volatile over the short-term as the new market entrant seeks to build market share through discounting,” he said.

“This may explain some of the observed average price variance in Toowoomba of late.”

Extracted in full from: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-17/petrol-prices-in-toowoomba-moving-to-price-cycle/12463510

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