Petrol prices should be lower

While petrol prices may seem low, they could be a whole lot lower according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), with petrol retailers reaping the benefits with record high margins.

The ACCC has found that while we were enjoying petrol prices at a 14-year low, gross margins enjoyed by the retailers were at their highest since the ACCC began monitoring in 2002.

In the year to June 2016, the average price for a litre of petrol in five of Australia’s largest cities was $1.22. The margins on a litre of fuel rose by 1.2 cents, averaging 11.2 cents over the year.

Diesel is also at its lowest price in real terms since 1998, with an annual average of $1.21 per litre in the last financial year.

While reflecting that fuel prices seemed low, ACCC chairman Rod Sims urged motorists to simply not accept the first price offered and to shop around. “This report suggests that in order for there to be more competitive pressure on retailers, consumers needs to shop around and reward those offering the best priced fuel,” he said.

With petrol prices averaging $1.18 per litre in the quarter to June, a rise of seven cents on the previous quarter, it seems we should indeed begin to shop around.

Mr Sims also encouraged motorists to use apps, such as MotorMouth, to track the real time price of fuel at their local pumps.

What do you think? Should retailers cut their prices or is it up to consumers to force change? Have you found the MotorMouth app, or similar, useful? How much are you currently paying for a litre of fuel?

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