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The Canberra petrol ripoff

By johnboy 20 February 2012 32

The Canberra Times is having a screech about Canberra petrol prices being much higher than the rest of the country.

The price of unleaded fuel reached a high of 149.9c per litre yesterday, 10c higher than in Sydney and almost 20c dearer than Melbourne.

Canberra also had the second-highest minimum price in the country, with its cheapest bowser hitting 141.9c behind Brisbane’s 142.9c.

They ponder the reason why but it seems simple enough.

The petrol companies are colluding bastards and we can afford to pay more.

Although I will smugly note that as a cycling-to-work-inner-northican I last filled my mighty 4 litre engined car 3 weeks ago and reckon I can make a few more weekly trips to Aldi before the price of petrol will be of any concern to me whatsoever.

What’s Your opinion?


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The Canberra petrol ripoff
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Mr Gillespie 6:38 pm 22 Jun 12

We need to rise up and protest against this menace. They can’t just keep expecting us all to just pay this extra without a whisper of a protest. This sort of thing is not on! I’d like to know where all the extra money being gouged out of us is going!

Hosinator 8:00 pm 21 Feb 12

carnardly said :

dpm and Jethro – you can do it.

A good set of thermals (ie long sleeve top and longjohns) and a windproof outer layer and you’ll be fine.

There are plenty of shops around that sell that stuff and some doesn’t even look like bike gear.

Mont, Ground Effect, etc.

Agreed to the comment above and I use a $15 pair of fleece gloves and have found the wind never cuts through them. I would also recommend a balaclava to cover your face, ears and it should cover your neck as well.

Jivrashia 11:06 am 21 Feb 12

astrojax said :

and no-one has ever satisfactorily explained to me the ‘price cycle’ regarding petrol pricing – what the effr is it and why is it required?

There’s no mystery about it. It is also called “price gouging”. In Canberra the cycle revolves around APS’s pay day. Price jumps about 10cents during Thursday afternoon when APSs get paid (fortnightly cycle).
Petroleum companies try to justify this by saying that there are days when prices are cheaper, but that is the case because it’s inconvenient for people to fill up on those days.

Governments are unable to stop this form of price gouging, because they practice it themselves (e.g. NSW City Rail)

astrojax said :

and so why isn’t there a milk price cycle, or an egg price cycle, etc..???

But there are… Maybe not on milk or egg but there is constant price fluctuation in all other food item in the supermarket.

The petrol companies are colluding bastards
That has yet to be proven johnboy. All I know is that the last whistle blower to dob them to ACCC mysteriously disappeared…

konazz 8:49 am 21 Feb 12

I too have found Braddon (1 x Mobil 7/11; 1 x BP; 1x Shell; 1x Caltex) by far the cheapest compared to Belconnen (2 x Shell and 1 x Caltex) and Kippax (1 x Mobil 7/11 and 1 x Caltex) on my way home – up to 10c difference on some days.

Seems the more competition in the area (only 2-3 blocks in braddon), and the fact that there are 2 non-supermarket stations = win(also I can get a slurpy at 7/11).

I love the analogy of Petrol Prices are the Asylum Seekers of retail. How true! You can save soooo much more by shopping smarter, than a 4c discount. Hell, I’ll even pay more for fruit and veg and meat at EPIC Markets, as its not the crap Woolies sell

AsparagusSyndrome 1:25 am 21 Feb 12

arescarti42 said :

I made the following graph the last time this topic came up on RA.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3827353/poprice.jpg

It basically plots the population of Australian cities against the price of petrol in each city (at the point in time i made the graph). My suspicion is that cities with large populations and more petrol stations have greater competition than smaller cities. Of course correlation need not imply causation.

In the bigger scheme of things, I believe the intrinsic value of a litre of petrol is many multiples of $1.5.

I agree with most of what you say here. I think if you remove the curve line from your graph, and just leave the data points, they appear to tell a different story to what the (arbitrarily chosen) curve suggests. They show two distinct populations of Australian cities – one lot that appears to obey the rule you suggest, and an outlying group of smaller towns with more extreme price dynamics – this suggests (but is insufficient to prove) that, in those towns, competition may be largely or completely absent. It would be interesting to plot petrol price against diversity of outlets (per sq. km or per 10,000 people) to confirm why some of Australia’s smaller towns have cheaper fuel than Canberra.

watto23 4:47 pm 20 Feb 12

I knid of gave up caring. I could not bother spending an extra 10 to 15 minutes looking to save 2 to 3 c a litre. IMO driving a fuel economic car, or no car is a bigger saving than cheaper petrol.

The 7/11 at Erindale is often the same price as the discounted Woolies Erindale. Shell in Greenway is rarely that much cheaper, for the sake of 1 or 2 c a litre I’ll just go to the more convenient servo.

20c a litre would save me $500 a year, but I could also cut out buying lunches, or coffee or so many other things to save money also. I think most people could and I’m guessing they know that in Canberra, most people have the ability to make a choice regarding spending.

cranky 4:19 pm 20 Feb 12

I suspect the ownership of the oil refineries, and their market prices, have an enormous influence on the ability of independent operators to source fuel at reasonable cost.

The owners of the Farrer servo advised, on their closing, that they were unable to purchase, at the time, fuel at the price the majors were selling it. Another closure, less competition, and we now have the rip-off.

damien haas 4:16 pm 20 Feb 12

devils_advocate said :

Jethro said :

Although, I too am wondering how motivated I will be to do the 19km ride at 7:00am in the depths of winter.

The wind chill is what gets ya, I reckon. No matter how good gloves you get it seems the icy wind just cuts through them. And even wrapping a scarf around the face doesn’t help that much.

You need to drink two bottles of iced coffee and then you will have these: http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/2012/02/milk-carton-bike-moose-mitts.html

carnardly 4:08 pm 20 Feb 12

dpm and Jethro – you can do it. A good set of thermals (ie long sleeve top and longjohns) and a windproof outer layer and you’ll be fine. There are plenty of shops around that sell that stuff and some doesn’t even look like bike gear. Mont, Ground Effect, etc.

astrojax 3:37 pm 20 Feb 12

dpm said :

I hate to start down this path on a thread (no pun intended), but I have to say, getting off my butt and riding to work 3 times a week (~100km in total) does more for my petrol-related finances (and health) than even a 20c/L petrol price drop would! Now, I understand not eveyone is in a position to have this option, but if you do, it’s worth considering. Though I wonder how my resolve will be in winter! Hahaha 🙂

the cycling option is its own reward – sadly not an option when you need to ferry others, incl small ones and ones with small ones on the way, to their daily activities, too…

and no-one has ever satisfactorily explained to me the ‘price cycle’ regarding petrol pricing – what the effr is it and why is it required? and so why isn’t there a milk price cycle, or an egg price cycle, etc..??? anyone want to have a go at making sense of this anomoly?

NoImRight 3:15 pm 20 Feb 12

AnimosiTy said :

motor bikes arn’t cheap to service or to buy tyres for or to register or insure… and id rather be cut out of my car than cleaned up off the road thankyou!!!
oh and motorbikes like premium gas!!!

Meant well but you got most of this wrong. Almost any bike is cheaper to service than almost any car. Tyres arent cheap but you only need two. Rego depends on capacity but if you only want a commuter it wont be much,plus tyres will be cheap on that sort of bike too. Some bikes need premium but most dont. “Gas”? Shudder….

arescarti42 3:07 pm 20 Feb 12

I made the following graph the last time this topic came up on RA.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3827353/poprice.jpg

It basically plots the population of Australian cities against the price of petrol in each city (at the point in time i made the graph). My suspicion is that cities with large populations and more petrol stations have greater competition than smaller cities. Of course correlation need not imply causation.

In the bigger scheme of things, I believe the intrinsic value of a litre of petrol is many multiples of $1.5.

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