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Canberrans ripped off at petrol pump compared to five bigger cities

By Glynis Quinlan - 7 September 2017 4

Petrol pricing Canberra
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.

What’s Your opinion?


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4 Responses to
Canberrans ripped off at petrol pump compared to five bigger cities
Leon Arundell 8:46 am 08 Sep 17

The obvious conclusion is that Canberrans who want cheaper petrol should either move to bigger cities, or pressure the ACT Government to increase Canberra’s population.

bryansworld 5:36 am 08 Sep 17

Tired of endless reports coming to the same conclusion. When is the ACCC actually going to do something.

JC 8:02 pm 07 Sep 17

Holden Caulfield said :

My anecdotal evidence doesn’t align with this report. Clearly, the ACCC has put more effort into gathering information than I have, so I don’t dispute their overall claims. However, on my last three or four trips to Sydney (which would have all been in 2017) fuel has been more expensive in Sydney than in Canberra. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

Moreover, I just don’t get the general culture of whinging about fuel prices. It’s just so boring. Compared with rego, insurance, servicing and maintenance, fuel is not the major factor in the cost of running a car that the incessant whinging would lead you to believe.

Assuming a weekly fuel consumption of 50 litres, that 7.6¢ extra per litre we’re paying in Canberra adds up to $3.80 per fill and less than $200 over the course of a full year.

So, we pay more for fuel in Canberra compared with Sydney. Woe is us! First, we don’t live in Sydney; which is, generally speaking, a much more expensive city to live in. Second, given we’d spend less time in heavy traffic and have comparatively free flowing roads, Canberrans probably enjoy better fuel economy, thereby evening things out when it comes to fuel costs.

It all depends where I sydney you buy it and that’s why I kinda agree with you that there is more than a simple we are being robbed statement which is how I read this article.

Fuel like many things is an open market. Retailers will charge what the market will pay. So go to Sydney and yeah the average may well be lower but go to parts of Sydney and it will be higher than average (North Shore for example) and other areas where significantly cheaper.

The fuel market is just not a simple thing that conclusions can be drawn from contextless stats.

Holden Caulfield 10:22 am 07 Sep 17

My anecdotal evidence doesn’t align with this report. Clearly, the ACCC has put more effort into gathering information than I have, so I don’t dispute their overall claims. However, on my last three or four trips to Sydney (which would have all been in 2017) fuel has been more expensive in Sydney than in Canberra. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

Moreover, I just don’t get the general culture of whinging about fuel prices. It’s just so boring. Compared with rego, insurance, servicing and maintenance, fuel is not the major factor in the cost of running a car that the incessant whinging would lead you to believe.

Assuming a weekly fuel consumption of 50 litres, that 7.6¢ extra per litre we’re paying in Canberra adds up to $3.80 per fill and less than $200 over the course of a full year.

So, we pay more for fuel in Canberra compared with Sydney. Woe is us! First, we don’t live in Sydney; which is, generally speaking, a much more expensive city to live in. Second, given we’d spend less time in heavy traffic and have comparatively free flowing roads, Canberrans probably enjoy better fuel economy, thereby evening things out when it comes to fuel costs.

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