With petrol in Canberra currently down to its lowest price in many years, one of the cheapest service stations in the ACT says it is adding more pumps to meet increased demand.
Costco at Majura Park has long been one of the go-to service stations for the cheapest fuel in Canberra. It will temporarily close its existing pumps for about one month so it can install six new pumps.
Canberra Airport and Majura Park head of property Richard Snow said the fuel station upgrade reflects the demand of people in the ACT to find the best value petrol.
“Majura Park is known for having the most affordable petrol in Canberra and this expansion will help us continue that legacy,” said Mr Snow.
“We’re excited to see this upgrade completed and welcome even more people to Majura Park to enjoy all that the precinct has to offer for fuel and groceries, retail stores, and more.”
This week, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr threatened to legislate a maximum retail margin for retailers in the territory after many refused to drop the price of petrol in the ACT despite a drop in global oil prices.
According to PetrolSpy Australia, most pumps in the ACT have been selling E10 between 99 cents and 102 cents a litre. On 8 May, Costco at Majura Park was selling Canberra’s cheapest fuel at 86.9 cents for a litre of E10, while the most expensive was 102.6 cents per litre at the Caltex service station in Hume.
In comparison, the majority of retailers across the border in Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra have prices sitting between 107 and 110 cents a litre.
While petrol prices have begun falling, a lack of competition in the sector is a concern for the ACT Government.
Last week, Chief Minister Barr said he had written to half a dozen retailers inviting them to open service stations in Canberra to help drive downward pressure on prices through increased competition. He said there is a lot more room for prices to fall.
“What I have put to the major fuel retailers is that the benchmark price for the Canberra market that would not see the government intervene is the Australian average price for fuel across the nation,” said Mr Barr.
“No-one is saying petrol retailers cannot make a profit. The issue here is the size of that profit and what we have seen during the past two weeks is that with this sort of government intervention we can bring those profit margins down to a sort of Australian industry standard.”
Former opposition leader and Belco Party candidate in the coming ACT election, Bill Stefaniak, cited the loss of the ACT’s fuel storage capacity as a missed opportunity for the Barr Government and the Liberal opposition to keep fuel prices down in Canberra.
“Years ago, fuel trains came in from Sydney every day,” said Mr Stefaniak. “Dozens of tankers. The fuel was stored along the tracks at Fyshwick in vast fuel yards run by Mobil, Shell and BP. The fuel was trucked locally about Canberra and the region. Hundreds of local people had local jobs as a result.
“Canberra could once again be a regional storage hub for fuel, thus creating local jobs, giving us fuel security and some price security as well.”
Managing director of Costco, Patrick Noone, said demand for Costco’s fuel was so great they had no choice but to add more fuel pumps.
“The installation of six more pumps will ease congestion from large numbers of people who take advantage of Majura Park’s value petrol prices,” said Mr Noone.
“We’ve seen a great increase in demand for our fuel station offerings. We’re expanding our Costco Canberra fuel station so we can better serve our members and save them time, every time they fill up at Costco.”
Construction will temporarily close the existing pumps from Monday, 11 May until mid-June. Caltex at Majura Park and Canberra Airport will remain open to accommodate Costco members.