Thursday, January 22, 2015

Petrol price rip-off revealed by ACCC

Too much ... country drivers are being gouged on petrol prices. Picture: Zoe Phillips
Too much ... country drivers are being gouged on petrol prices. Picture: Zoe Phillips Source: Getty Images
 
THE gap between city and country petrol prices has opened up by a further $6 a tank in just six months, the consumer watchdog has found. 

And it intends to find out why, using “compulsory information gathering powers” for the first time, seeking evidence of cartel or anti-competitive behaviour.

Research published today by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proves drivers outside the mainland state capitals are being denied much of the 35 cents per litre (c/L) plunge in the wholesale cost of fuel since July last year.

The average gap between regional and metropolitan prices has widened from 5.7c/L in mid 2014 to 17.6c/L in December.

That extra 12c/L costs owners of the nation’s most popular car, the 50L Toyota Corolla, an extra $6 a tank, increasing the mark-up from about $3 per refill to $9.

Nationally, the biggest rort appears to be in Toowoomba, where motorists have gone from paying less than the major-city average to 21.1c/L more.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said price falls sometimes took a while to flow through to regional prices due to lower sales volumes. But the savings from the oil price slump should have materialised by now, he added.
“This is a hell of a lag,” Mr Sims said.

Anger... ACCC Chairman Rod Sims is cracking down on petrol rorts. Picture: Simon Bullard
Anger... ACCC Chairman Rod Sims is cracking down on petrol rorts. Picture: Simon Bullard Source: News Corporation Source: News Limited
 
Mr Sims said the ACCC would do “micro studies” of prices in three unnamed regional centres using compulsory information gathering powers recently activated by consumer and competition minister Bruce Billson.

Those powers are a “bloody great spotlight”, Mr Sims said.

The ACCC would be hunting for evidence of cartel behaviour. The locations to be studied aren’t being named because it would tip-off Big Petrol.

“Just the fact that we are looking will probably give the market a bit of a hurry up,” Mr Sims said.

Australian Automobile Association acting CEO James Goodwin said: “This is welcome but unfortunately, is long overdue. The motoring clubs have been calling for a detailed investigation into fuel prices in rural and regional areas for a long time.

“Reduced competition in many country towns is very concerning with locals being particularly hard done by because they usually drive larger vehicles and longer distances,” Mr Goodwin said.

“It’s not uncommon for the national average in regional areas to be 15 or 20 cents higher than in the city and in many cases this simply can’t be explained by higher transport costs.”

news.com.au 15 Jan 2015

The global petrol giants have been ripping Aussie motorists off for decades, where the so called Australian watch dogs / regulators have been letting them get away with it in 'money for mates' deals.

Corruption in the Australian government is rife, and there is NO stopping it until the people wake up.

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