Even low petrol prices could be less

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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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Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 15
  1. 0

    Well here’s the lament I have made on many occasions Debbie. When the oil price dropped from $110 a barrel to $30 our fuel prices barely moved and regulators were deadly silent.
    It is long overdue that the media ramped up its attack on fuel wholesalers who have been scalping us all.

  2. 0

    I really can’t remember when fuel companies didn’t rip off the public I don’t know what the price is in Sydney but down here in Nowra the price is about 1.17 per litre UL it doesn’t move much maybe one or two cents and it takes a long time for the so called discount to filter here
    Really, it is what it is a necessary part of life

    • 0

      Our petrol prices have been varying by around $0.25 a litre in SA. over the last few months. It sometimes jumps $0.15 overnight. Some State Governments charge a higher rate of levy /tax – call it what they like.
      The higher the price the more the Govt. gets. I don’t know where they are spending that money, certainly not on doing roads properly.

    • 0

      We were also led to believe that fuel prices would be lower when our refineries were closed and all fuel comes from overseas. If something goes wrong with the countries we are getting it from we are held to ransom.

    • 0

      The majority of crude oil comes from overseas, but not all. There are oil rigs of the Victoria and W.A. coasts.

  3. 0

    In this country, we are told to shop around for the best prices for everything. Nowadays, even for gas and electricity we have to shop around every six months to get the best deal. This way we spend half of our time just shopping around. The government has no control over anything and all the companies ripping us off. To find the cheapest petrol, I will have to drive around the town for an hour burning fuel and polluting the atmosphere.

  4. 0

    Of course petrol prices should be lower, but since the government reaps such a hefty tax from it’s sale they discourage the ACCC from taking any action to lower it. Wake up to yourselves!

  5. 0

    What people are forgetting is that the Government is ALSO raking in a bundle, the MORE petrol prices go up, the MORE the Government pockets. Is it any surprise?. Remember Joe Hockey called disabled rorters, whilst he himself was pocketing several bundles of $288 a night travel allowance for his Canberra holiday house. The Canberra house that he openly laughed and boasted how he bought it by lying and cheating. What else would you expect from our government?

  6. 0

    If the ACCC is saying shop around to get a fairer price, they are indicating that someone is ripping the consumer off by charging a higher price, if this is the case what use is the ACCC in controlling the over charging. It would seem to me that we should be getting rid of the ACCC, how much would we save?

    • 0

      The ACCC does do good now and then, Dim, but their approach to doing anything about high petrol prices is non-existent due to probable instruction from the government because of the high taxes being reaped. Another fine example of the government looking after the welfare of its residents! The only ones these politicians think about is themselves. Rotten bunch the great majority of them!

  7. 0

    Has everyone forgotten that oil is not a renewable resource?
    They are not making it anymore but you wouldn’t think so the way we are gobbling it up.
    Ergo, the cheaper the price the more people use their cars and buy bigger cars and the more fuel is used.
    No, I do not complain paying $1.30 per litre or more and under $1.00 is irresponsible nowadays.
    And if more goes to taxation then it’s preferable to cutting pensions!

  8. 0

    There is an unbreakable nexus between petrol prices and government revenue. The higher the fuel price the higher the tax take. Dodgy Joe may have been rorting for himself, but at least the Government of all persuasions is actually rorting for us in a funny way. However, they could eliminate the diesel fuel rebate to the Miners and save us $5.5 billion per year. Miners claims that they don’t use public roads and thus aren’t beneficiaries of the tax on fuel is complete B/S, after all 80% of mining profits go offshore and they use every devise to avoid paying company tax as well.

  9. 0

    I seem to remember Alan Fels trying to do something about the collusion between the companies but was nobbled. If our governments were not hand in glove with the rorters they would simply jail to CEO’s responsible. Problem solved.

  10. 0

    I think Mick has said it all. The Crude price per barrel is now less than half what it was 2 years ago but we are now paying the same price. And why doesn’t somebody do something about 95 and 98RON petrol which is probably used by the majority of motorists. 95RON is usually at least 15c per litre more expensive than standard ulp and 98RON is another further leap up. The only difference between them all is the addition of fuel compatible detergent to “keep your engine clean”. This is where the real profits are.
    Of course the Governments of our fair land will never interfere because they are on the habit and don’t know how to get off it.
    It’s really interesting to see the way oil majors sneakily add to the bowser price then some of them give you a whacking 4c/litre discount after you have spent more than $30 in their supermarket. Usually this amounts to a total tank discount of around $1.40 which is at least partially covered by the supermarket dealers having a bowser price 2c/litre higher than the privately owned petrol stations.
    We need an organisation to spring up that really means business to stop this rorting because when crude oil returns to normal levels we are going to be paying well over $2/litre. The current low price is due to an oil glut in the US and Middle East.



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