Canberra motorists paying through the nose at the pump can finally use the NSW FuelCheck app to check ACT fuel prices online.
Electric vehicle drivers won’t be left out either, with plans for the location of charging stations to be added to the app.
The ACT Government has done a deal with the NSW Government, which owns the app, for it to be expanded into the ACT as part of a six-month pilot.
There have been calls for years from motorists, the NRMA and the Opposition for a government real-time price monitoring tool in the ACT where the cost of filling up can be much higher than in other jurisdictions such as NSW.
The current spike in fuel prices, sparked by the war in Ukraine, has only intensified pressure for government to respond.
The ACT Government has been exploring the FuelCheck app since a 2019 Assembly committee report recommended it initiate a real-time, mandatory price monitoring scheme similar to the FuelCheck app to improve industry transparency and competition within the ACT fuel supply market.
The sticking point had been the cost of developing a new app for the ACT and the exorbitant fee demanded by former premier Gladys Berejiklian to use FuelCheck, particularly when there is already the private PetrolSpy app. However, according to Choice, the NSW app is easier to use, doesn’t require an account, and doesn’t have any ads.
New Premier Dominic Perrottet is believed to have been more amenable, and the app is being made available to the ACT for free.
The government says prices will be displayed per litre, without any discounts or special offers, allowing users to easily search for the best option based on their vehicle needs.
It says the app will increase transparency and competitive pressure in the local market and provide an easy way for Canberrans to find the best fuel price for their vehicle.
It will also work with commercial EV charging operators to add EV charging stations to the FuelCheck pilot.
Consumer Affairs and Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury said the app empowered consumers to make educated and informed purchasing decisions.
“This will be another tool for Canberrans to find the most up-to-date pricing information, to seek savings, and to promote competition in the Canberra fuel market,” he said.
Mr Rattenbury said the government also recognised that the future of ACT motoring would be electric and adding EV charging stations to the app would keep it relevant and help ease ‘range anxiety’.
Business and Better Regulation Minister Tara Cheyne urged small and independent service stations to participate in the trial.
“This is a great opportunity for small and independent ACT operators to take advantage of free price advertising and bring awareness of their location to a larger audience,” she said.
“By opting into the scheme and providing their pricing information, a service station will have their location and pricing information displayed on the app in real-time.”
Ms Cheyne said Access Canberra would work with operators to help them understand their obligations if they decide to be part of the FuelCheck scheme.
CEO membership & motoring at NRMA Emma Harrington said the motoring organisation welcomed greater fuel pricing transparency in the ACT, particularly as motorists approach the holiday driving season.
“We have long supported transparency of fuel prices and the expansion of real-time fuel price data to the ACT,” she said.
“This initiative will make a massive difference for consumers by ensuring they can always find the best-priced fuel near them.
“This is a timely initiative which will greatly benefit consumers as fuel prices remain volatile and cost of living continues to rise.”
The government will monitor the operation of the FuelCheck pilot over the next six months to review its effectiveness in the ACT market.
The FuelCheck app is available through your app store.