Canberrans are getting ripped off at the petrol pump compared to Australia’s five largest capital cities – with our petrol on average costing 4.9 cents per litre more.
Those were the results from the June quarter this year shown in a report on the Australian petroleum market put out by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission recently.
Canberra’s average retail price for petrol in the three months to June 2017 was 130.1 cents per litre. This compares with an average petrol price of 125.2 cents per litre for Australia’s five largest cities – namely Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
On top of that, the report shows that in the full year to June 2017, Canberra’s monthly average retail petrol prices were always higher than in the five largest cities.
Hobart and Darwin share Canberra’s petrol price pain but Darwin had the benefit of its prices not being higher than those of the five largest cities in the single month of September 2016.
“Factors that may lead to relatively higher prices in Canberra, Hobart and Darwin are similar to those factors influencing prices in regional locations,” the ACCC report states.
According to the report, these factors may include a lower level of local competition; lower volumes of fuel sold; distance/location factors; and lower convenience store sales.
The ACCC report for the June 2017 quarter shows that retail petrol prices have dropped but the retail margins remain high – meaning that prices should be still lower.
“While motorists are enjoying the cheapest petrol since 2002, we believe prices should have been even lower given the continuing high gross retail margins,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
The NRMA believes that Canberrans are at the mercy of an overpriced market because of the smaller number of independent service stations and because the ACT doesn’t have access to real time price reporting, unlike NSW.
“Canberra’s average price fell from 138.1 cents per litre in March 2017 to 130.1 cents per litre in June 2017, but it still has the sixth highest fuel price among the capital cities,” said NRMA Regional Corporate Affairs Advisor, Helen Machalias.
“Most notably, Canberra’s price is still relatively high compared with Sydney – 7.6 cents per litre higher.
“Canberra’s fuel cycle tends to be more static than other capital city markets, as you don’t have the same peaks and troughs you have in markets like Sydney.”
Ms Machalias said that “choice is power” and encouraged motorists to monitor the market and shop around.
“Petrol in surrounding towns tends to be cheaper, so if you’re travelling, consider hopping over the border to places like Queanbeyan or Yass, where you are more likely to get a better deal,” she said.
“This situation highlights why the NRMA has advocated for ACT residents to have access to real time data in the way that NSW residents do.
“NSW Government reform has improved the market here, and if the ACT were to follow suit, service stations would have to compete on price and motorists would be empowered to make educated choices.“
Ms Machalias said that, overall, average fuel prices fell in the June Quarter due to falling mogas prices and a stronger Australian dollar.
Given our proximity to Sydney do you think it’s right Canberrans are paying 7.6 cents per litre more for petrol? Do we need real time price reporting? Let us know what you think in the comments below.