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ACT Fuel Watch fighting for fairer petrol prices

By Amy McPhillips 9 January 2015 31

Tired of paying more for petrol than their Sydney counterparts, a group of Canberrans are using social media to take the fight for fairer petrol prices into their own hands.

The group created ACT Fuel Watch, a Facebook page that monitors petrol prices in the territory and surrounds, on Sunday evening (4 January 2015). In just five days, the page has attracted over 10,000 likes (see below image) and is playing a role in helping to lower Canberra’s petrol prices.

ACT Fuel Watch

Ben from ACT Fuel Watch says that the motivation for starting the Facebook page was to “have a crack at social change and help families”. He says the page is not affiliated with any service station, or with Costco.

“Outside of Canberra, there’s a perception that we’re all wealthy public servants with too much time off, however, a lot of people here do it tough,” he says.

“In Canberra, petrol prices were going to be kept high until they were pushed. Consumers needed to start demanding lower prices.”

It’s certainly a timely endeavour, as NRMA told media on Wednesday that Canberrans should be paying just over $1 a litre for petrol. Currently, Canberrans pay up to $1.34 per litre.

Ben’s advice to motorists is to fill up on Saturdays, and to fill up at petrol stations offering the cheapest fuel (ACT Fuel Watch publishes a list of Canberra’s cheapest and most expensive servos each day).

“Research has shown than Saturday is the day that most people fill up, and it’s also the day that they fill up with the most petrol. What I’d like people to do is to head to the better value suppliers that offer the cheaper fuel, which will limit the business going to more expensive stations,” he says.

“Tomorrow is an opportunity where people aren’t rushing, they’re not in a hurry to get to work, and so it’s easier to drive to Majura or Fyshwick or even Queanbeyan, where the average price of fuel is lower.”


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ACT Fuel Watch fighting for fairer petrol prices
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JimCharles 6:18 am 23 Jan 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Holden Caulfield said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

How are Canberra petrol prices looking now? I’m OS and the FB page linked to in the OP is down.

91RON was 114.9 at the BP on Ipswich St in Fyshwick this morning.

Thanks for that.

Anyone know what diesel is down to? It shouldn’t really matter as I get over 3 weeks from 50 litres of diesel, but it still interests me.

Saw it at 130.9 at Curtin yesterday.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:41 pm 22 Jan 15

Holden Caulfield said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

How are Canberra petrol prices looking now? I’m OS and the FB page linked to in the OP is down.

91RON was 114.9 at the BP on Ipswich St in Fyshwick this morning.

Thanks for that.

Anyone know what diesel is down to? It shouldn’t really matter as I get over 3 weeks from 50 litres of diesel, but it still interests me.

Bennop 3:30 pm 22 Jan 15

Mysteryman said :

Bennop said :

Mysteryman said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Mysteryman said :

…The rest of us choose to shop elsewhere at prices we consider reasonable. That’s the beauty of the economic system we live in…

Agreed, and that’s exactly why fluctuating fuel prices shouldn’t really be such a melodrama.

When oil prices went up, so did the cost of fuel in Canberra. Usually within days. When the price of oil halved, we barely saw a drop in petrol prices. And that pathetically small drop took a long time to materialise.

Are you calling a 40c decrease in retail prices, a pathically small drop?

I’m calling the 10c drop that didn’t reflect the falling price of oil pathetic. Take a look at the chart:

http://www.aip.com.au/pricing/retail/ulp/charts/images/canberra_40w.png

See that significant drop at the end? The one that occurred around the middle of December? Yeah… Costco fuel opened on the 11th of Dec.

Looks pretty similar the the NSW regional average

http://www.aip.com.au/pricing/retail/ulp/charts/nsw_regional_average_charts.htm

And IMHO not that disimilar to the trend of the Sydney average, once the cyclical peaks and troughs are ironed out
http://www.aip.com.au/pricing/retail/ulp/charts/sydney_charts.htm

Mysteryman 3:10 pm 22 Jan 15

Bennop said :

Mysteryman said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Mysteryman said :

…The rest of us choose to shop elsewhere at prices we consider reasonable. That’s the beauty of the economic system we live in…

Agreed, and that’s exactly why fluctuating fuel prices shouldn’t really be such a melodrama.

When oil prices went up, so did the cost of fuel in Canberra. Usually within days. When the price of oil halved, we barely saw a drop in petrol prices. And that pathetically small drop took a long time to materialise.

Are you calling a 40c decrease in retail prices, a pathically small drop?

I’m calling the 10c drop that didn’t reflect the falling price of oil pathetic. Take a look at the chart:

http://www.aip.com.au/pricing/retail/ulp/charts/images/canberra_40w.png

See that significant drop at the end? The one that occurred around the middle of December? Yeah… Costco fuel opened on the 11th of Dec.

Bennop 2:48 pm 22 Jan 15

Mysteryman said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Mysteryman said :

…The rest of us choose to shop elsewhere at prices we consider reasonable. That’s the beauty of the economic system we live in…

Agreed, and that’s exactly why fluctuating fuel prices shouldn’t really be such a melodrama.
When oil prices went up, so did the cost of fuel in Canberra. Usually within days. When the price of oil halved, we barely saw a drop in petrol prices. And that pathetically small drop took a long time to materialise.

Are you calling a 40c decrease in retail prices, a pathically small drop?

Mysteryman 2:13 pm 22 Jan 15

Holden Caulfield said :

Mysteryman said :

…The rest of us choose to shop elsewhere at prices we consider reasonable. That’s the beauty of the economic system we live in…

Agreed, and that’s exactly why fluctuating fuel prices shouldn’t really be such a melodrama.

The problem is that the prices weren’t fluctuating in Canberra. We weren’t seeing the drops that everyone else was. When oil prices went up, so did the cost of fuel in Canberra. Usually within days. When the price of oil halved, we barely saw a drop in petrol prices. And that pathetically small drop took a long time to materialise.

Bennop 1:33 pm 22 Jan 15

Holden Caulfield said :

Mysteryman said :

…The rest of us choose to shop elsewhere at prices we consider reasonable. That’s the beauty of the economic system we live in…

Agreed, and that’s exactly why fluctuating fuel prices shouldn’t really be such a melodrama.

Mysteryman said :

If you want me to give you some arbitrary number, then I’m happy to do so, although I doubt that will satisfy your need to be the contrarian on this issue. Considering there is a negligible cost to transport fuel to Canberra when compared to other cities and towns, and that many other rural areas like Albury, Dubbo, Forbes, even Moama are selling fuel substantially cheaper across the board than in Canberra, the obvious conclusion would be that fuel should be priced similarly to Sydney or other large regional areas. Goulburn is 90kms away and even there fuel is cheaper than it is here. You can’t even give a justification for why this is…

Different state taxes may play some role, as well as a free market. You’re free to shop where you like, the fuelcos are free to charge what they like. We do agree, we’re just looking at it from different angles.

As noted previously, I place a preference over brand of fuel before cost, but within that, of course, I will buy fuel cheaper if I can.

And one observation that amuses me is that it doesnt matter what city/state/region you live, the standard rhtoric is that they are ripping us off all the time, no matter what the price. So why should Canberras theatrics be any different?

Holden Caulfield 11:46 am 22 Jan 15

Mysteryman said :

…The rest of us choose to shop elsewhere at prices we consider reasonable. That’s the beauty of the economic system we live in…

Agreed, and that’s exactly why fluctuating fuel prices shouldn’t really be such a melodrama.

Mysteryman said :

If you want me to give you some arbitrary number, then I’m happy to do so, although I doubt that will satisfy your need to be the contrarian on this issue. Considering there is a negligible cost to transport fuel to Canberra when compared to other cities and towns, and that many other rural areas like Albury, Dubbo, Forbes, even Moama are selling fuel substantially cheaper across the board than in Canberra, the obvious conclusion would be that fuel should be priced similarly to Sydney or other large regional areas. Goulburn is 90kms away and even there fuel is cheaper than it is here. You can’t even give a justification for why this is…

Different state taxes may play some role, as well as a free market. You’re free to shop where you like, the fuelcos are free to charge what they like. We do agree, we’re just looking at it from different angles.

As noted previously, I place a preference over brand of fuel before cost, but within that, of course, I will buy fuel cheaper if I can.

Holden Caulfield 11:41 am 22 Jan 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

How are Canberra petrol prices looking now? I’m OS and the FB page linked to in the OP is down.

91RON was 114.9 at the BP on Ipswich St in Fyshwick this morning.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 11:22 am 22 Jan 15

How are Canberra petrol prices looking now? I’m OS and the FB page linked to in the OP is down.

Mysteryman 12:18 pm 20 Jan 15

Holden Caulfield said :

I tend to agree with the claim that the fuelcos are maximising their pricing opportunities. I’m just realistic enough, or perhaps cynical enough, to suck it up and deal with.

I’m happy to admit this may be a lazy option on my part, haha.

That’s exactly what it is. The consumer has as much power as they are willing to exercise. If you’re happy paying more than you should, then by all means continue doing so. The rest of us choose to shop elsewhere at prices we consider reasonable. That’s the beauty of the economic system we live in.

Holden Caulfield said :

However, I still don’t hear anyone claiming “IT’S A RORT!!!!!!!!” coming up with a profit margin they deem to be acceptable for fuelcos to make.

If you want me to give you some arbitrary number, then I’m happy to do so, although I doubt that will satisfy your need to be the contrarian on this issue. Considering there is a negligible cost to transport fuel to Canberra when compared to other cities and towns, and that many other rural areas like Albury, Dubbo, Forbes, even Moama are selling fuel substantially cheaper across the board than in Canberra, the obvious conclusion would be that fuel should be priced similarly to Sydney or other large regional areas. Goulburn is 90kms away and even there fuel is cheaper than it is here. You can’t even give a justification for why this is so, but you expect the rest of us to just accept it instead of doing something about it? I’m sure that makes sense to you. It doesn’t to me. We have the opportunity to reward the business that is pricing fuel more in line with reasonable expectations and that’s what we are doing. It’s not our responsibility to manage their books for them, despite your insistence.

dungfungus 11:42 am 20 Jan 15

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Until people start making the effort to go out to Costco to fill up, other service stations will not be motivated to change.

Fuel companies remind me of banks. Everyone hates them, but until people actually take action, nothing changes.

When you say “people” do you mean non-Costco members?
You do realize that they will have to pay $60 to join up so they can save $20.
That’s not a good equation is it.

You don’t need to join Costco to get the cheaper petrol. Woolworths nearby is matching Costco in price, Buy it there and save the $60.

Comparing prices, I was in Adaminaby two days ago and petrol cost $1.22 a litre there.

“Woolworths nearby is matching Costco in price, Buy it there and save the $60.”
You have to have a current discount chit from Woolworths (from spending over $30). This of course isn’t a problem for regular Woolies shoppers.

Maya123 12:35 am 20 Jan 15

dungfungus said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Until people start making the effort to go out to Costco to fill up, other service stations will not be motivated to change.

Fuel companies remind me of banks. Everyone hates them, but until people actually take action, nothing changes.

When you say “people” do you mean non-Costco members?
You do realize that they will have to pay $60 to join up so they can save $20.
That’s not a good equation is it.

You don’t need to join Costco to get the cheaper petrol. Woolworths nearby is matching Costco in price, Buy it there and save the $60.

Comparing prices, I was in Adaminaby two days ago and petrol cost $1.22 a litre there.

Holden Caulfield 3:12 pm 19 Jan 15

Felix the Cat said :

So why is there this “transport cost” bandied around as to be the reason why there are major differences between Sydney and Canberra petrol prices but other most other products are the same price between the two cities? You don’t hear of people paying $10 for a schooner of beer in Canberra while Sydney pay $5. It’s just a rort by the fuel companies, plain and simple.

I tend to agree with the claim that the fuelcos are maximising their pricing opportunities. I’m just realistic enough, or perhaps cynical enough, to suck it up and deal with.

I’m happy to admit this may be a lazy option on my part, haha.

However, I still don’t hear anyone claiming “IT’S A RORT!!!!!!!!” coming up with a profit margin they deem to be acceptable for fuelcos to make.

Pricing for supermarket items varies from Coles to Coles and Woollies to Woollies; and that’s just around Canberra, let alone compared with other cities.

OMG it’s another roooooooooorrrrrrrttt!!!

STOP THE RORTS!

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 3:07 pm 19 Jan 15

dungfungus said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

dungfungus said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Until people start making the effort to go out to Costco to fill up, other service stations will not be motivated to change.

Fuel companies remind me of banks. Everyone hates them, but until people actually take action, nothing changes.

When you say “people” do you mean non-Costco members?
You do realize that they will have to pay $60 to join up so they can save $20.
That’s not a good equation is it.

If you can’t make back the $60 membership fee within a year of fuel savings then you don’t use enought fuel to be concerned about the price anyway.

Do you recall Joe Hockey saying poor people use less petrol? There are a lot more poor people in Canberra than is generally estimated.

Not sure what your point is…?

Felix the Cat 2:37 pm 19 Jan 15

So why is there this “transport cost” bandied around as to be the reason why there are major differences between Sydney and Canberra petrol prices but other most other products are the same price between the two cities? You don’t hear of people paying $10 for a schooner of beer in Canberra while Sydney pay $5. It’s just a rort by the fuel companies, plain and simple.

I’m surprised a few companies (say transport/courier companies that use a lot of fuel) don’t get together in a co-op style arrangement and buy a tanker of fuel direct from the refinery every week or fortnight and save themselves a fortune.

dungfungus 1:36 pm 19 Jan 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

dungfungus said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Until people start making the effort to go out to Costco to fill up, other service stations will not be motivated to change.

Fuel companies remind me of banks. Everyone hates them, but until people actually take action, nothing changes.

When you say “people” do you mean non-Costco members?
You do realize that they will have to pay $60 to join up so they can save $20.
That’s not a good equation is it.

If you can’t make back the $60 membership fee within a year of fuel savings then you don’t use enought fuel to be concerned about the price anyway.

Do you recall Joe Hockey saying poor people use less petrol? There are a lot more poor people in Canberra than is generally estimated.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 12:09 pm 19 Jan 15

dungfungus said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Until people start making the effort to go out to Costco to fill up, other service stations will not be motivated to change.

Fuel companies remind me of banks. Everyone hates them, but until people actually take action, nothing changes.

When you say “people” do you mean non-Costco members?
You do realize that they will have to pay $60 to join up so they can save $20.
That’s not a good equation is it.

If you can’t make back the $60 membership fee within a year of fuel savings then you don’t use enought fuel to be concerned about the price anyway.

Reprobate 11:32 am 19 Jan 15

Interesting to see the current terminal gate pricing for Mobil here: http://apps.exxonmobil.com.au/apps/htm/mn_mobil_products_automotive_pricing.asp

It has been widely speculated that Costco is currently selling fuel at a loss in Canberra (93.7 c/L on Sunday 18/1) and this pricing would bear that out, especially adding on transport, staffing and land costs. Average Sydney fuel prices are within 6c/L of that gate price. However the gate prices also show that most Canberra servos are having a lend of motorists when they are selling ULP for 20c/L above the gate price. There is no way – and this is supported by historical pricing differentials – that it costs around 15c/L to transport petrol under 300km down the road. Remember that the exact same Mobil fuel that Costco use is also supplied here to 7-11 servos, yet costs 20c/L more for you to buy.

Interestingly enough, ACT Fuel Watch shared a pic of a servo in Young yesterday with price boards of around 104c/L for ULP…

Holden Caulfield 10:25 am 19 Jan 15

Did my own research on the fuel source:

http://www.costco.com.au/Common/Faq.shtml

“Currently Costco sources its quality fuel from Mobil which is specified to meet Australian Standards.”

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