Australian motorists are being taken for a ride by petrol stations which are refusing to pass on fuel price falls, in a damning claim by the federal treasurer backed up by data.

In an exclusive interview with 7NEWS, Jim Chalmers has pointed his finger squarely at petrol companies for Australia’s stubbornly high prices at the bowser and called on them to stop the profiteering.

“Petrol stations are notorious for jacking up the price when the international price is more expensive,” he said.

“They should pass on the savings as well.

“Do not treat your customers as mugs. People are under desperate cost-of-living pressure. We need to see these savings passed on.

“They need to explain themselves so that customers have the confidence that they’re getting these savings passed on.”

The treasurer’s claims appear to stack up, according to data by FuelTrac supplied to

While the terminal gate (wholesale) price national average fell to 179.4 cents per litre for unleaded petrol across the week ending July 17, the price at the pump remained at a weekly average of 204.1 cents per litre.

In the previous week, the terminal gate price for unleaded was 196.9 cents per litre, while the retail pump price was 212.1 cents per litre national average.

Comparing the two weeks shows that petrol retailers are sluggish to respond in reducing bowser prices as the wholesale price declines.

“Oil prices globally have been falling quite consistently now,” NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said.

“Companies have been holding onto those margins and they need to stop, those prices need to fall.”

The federal government has the option of calling on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to act against the petrol companies.

Jim Chalmers has taken aim at petrol companies. Credit: AAP

However Chalmers has ruled out extending the reduction in the fuel tax beyond September, saying it’s too difficult and too expensive to continue.

“There’s a nearer and sooner way to get petrol price relief and that’s for the servos to pass on these savings,” he said.

The treasurer’s appeal has come after a new report showed rising profits levels among the Australian corporate sector was one of the key causes for increasing inflation levels across the country.

Research from The Australia Institute has revealed increasing profit levels among companies, and not increased wages for workers, have been contributing to rising inflation rates.

Inflation crisis

The report found wages made no contribution to inflation in Australia during the 2019/20 or 2020/21 financial years.

In the most recent financial year wages only made up 0.6 percentage points of the 4.1 per cent.

Currently, inflation is sitting at 5.1 per cent, the highest level in 20 years, with the rate expected to climb as high as 7 per cent.

Australia Institute chief economist Richard Denniss said despite concerns from employers and business groups increased wages would contribute to rising costs, data showed the increasing profits were a major factor for inflation.

“The national accounts show it is rising profits, not rising costs that are driving Australia’s inflation,” he said.

“While workers are being asked to make sacrifices in the name of controlling inflation, the data makes clear that it is the corporate sector that needs to tighten its belt.

“It’s a shortage of competition, not a shortage of skilled labour that is driving up the cost of living in Australia.”

The report said increasing profits among businesses has been the dominant factor among the rising inflation levels.

“Increasing prices in line with, or in excess of, rising costs is a choice to maintain or increase profit margins in Australia, even through the profit share of GDP is at near-record high,” the report said.

“It is clear that competition policy and other policies designed to control prices have a significant role to play in Australia.”

Extracted in full form: Federal treasurer calls on petrol companies to pass on wholesale price falls to customers | 7NEWS