19 July 2022

Petrol prices have dropped, so are Canberra motorists being gouged at the pump?

| James Coleman
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The ‘good old days’: if you hunt around, you can still find fuel at these prices (but don’t count on it). Photo: Michelle Kroll.

If the rest of the nation is anything to go by, Canberrans should have been paying less for petrol since the end of last week. So why do we still have the highest average fuel price of all the capital cities?

After months of agony at the bowser, wholesale fuel prices in NSW and the ACT plummeted 15 cents in the past week alone. However, Canberra’s average price at the pump as of 18 July is still $2.18 for regular unleaded, much like it has been since early May.

Melbourne comes second at $2.16 and Hobart third at $2.08. Darwin is the market most similar to ours and sits at around $2.15.

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The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA) is the national peak body representing the interests of Australia’s fuel wholesale, distribution and retail industry.

CEO Mark McKenzie says the wholesale price is what the service station pays when it refills its tanks.

“If I’m a low-volume player, that price won’t come down until I’ve drained my stock,” Mr McKenzie explains.

But for most Canberra petrol stations, he says stock is replaced every couple of days.

“I would expect to see what has happened in the smaller market of Hobart also happening in Canberra from the end of last week. But we’re not seeing that.”

Counting the pennies: prices should come down (but that doesn’t mean they will). Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Several stations to the east of Canberra, near Hume and Majura, are around the $1.99 mark for 91, which is about where Mr McKenzie would expect to see prices. But the rest of the city is still around $2.20.

The cheapest is in Fyshwick at $1.98 and the most expensive is in Kingston at $2.24.

Fuel prices have bounced up and down since the war in Ukraine began in March, but it has been a downward trend since then.

The global price of oil peaked on 14 June, but since then, it has dropped by 18 per cent to around US$100 a barrel. This is also about where they were when the Federal Government cut the fuel excise on 29 March.

“What we’re seeing in Australian markets at the moment is the first part of that fall.”

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Mr McKenzie says demand for oil is dropping as traders dread impending economic doom.

“Oil traders are speculating that the big economies of the world are heading for a recession. Recession is bad for a whole lot of things, but it does reduce demand and, therefore, price. But no one really knows for sure.”

The country has had 110 days under the 22.1-cent fuel excise cut with 72 days to go until it’s added back to the pump price on 28 September.

Mr McKenzie says what happens after September remains anyone’s guess, but we can rest assured fuel prices will come down over the next few days.

As for Canberra’s diesel prices, that’s still well over $2 and nearly $2.40 in places.

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What’s the bet that when the excise is put back on the fuel goes back up by 24CPL long before the existing stocks in the servo tanks are depleted?

Same thing happens with card purchases and credits. Pay for something with a debit or credit card and the cash is out of your account that very instant. Get a refund on that card and the money takes up to ten days to get back in there.

Definitely price gouging. I came through Gundagai on Sundy, filled up with V-Power 98 on the highway (which is always more expensive than in the local town), cost $2.39 a litre. Got to Canberra – same day – same product – $2.49 a litre! What gives?

Join that large US retail place at Majura. Unleaded is $1.82 there today while the cheapest anywhere else is 13 cents a litre dearer and average price is around $2.20. Sure you might have to travel further to get there and pay an annual membership fee but they are always the cheapest fuel. Download the PetrolSpy app too. Very useful when travelling to show you where te cheapest fuel is.

Pro tip. If the lines for Costco are too long, Woolworths next door is only 4c a litre more expensive, or the same price if you have the discount docket

I paid $1.81 in Sydney last week without having to endure the queue.

Be good if they opened a couple more fuel outlets around Canberra. That would really impact fuel prices and the queues.

As drastic and practically difficult as it may be, we (Canberrans) need to take action that will get the attention of those responsible for the greed. Don’t fill up and walk to work or better still, don’t go to work at all. When the economy takes a direct and significant hit, executives start thinking about their bonuses and politicians start thinking about the next election.

billyates195510:12 am 22 Jul 22

Fantastic idea if you don’t have to work to live. Know anybody?

I recall during a previous period where we were being blatantly been ripped off, Mr Barr jumped up and down and threatened the oil companies. Within days the prices dropped.
Mr Barr, time to deliver on those threats…..unless of course, it’s politically convenient to have high fuel prices given the Government’s recent EV initiatives.
The problem with that Mr Barr is that there is an inadequate supply of EVs and only the well-heeled could afford one anyway. So if you could do something about fuel prices today and stop the rip-offs, some of us might end up saving some money, which maybe we could use to purchase a shining new Chinese-made EV.

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