Moves fuel price gap
Controversy at lack of real-time system
THE battle over petrol prices intensified yesterday when the RACQ accused some Cairns petrol stations of “ripping off motorists” by hiking prices nine cents to almost 150 cents per litre.
The state government said it was “working on possible solutions” to tackle the pressure on Queensland drivers, but rebuffed demands for laws forcing retailers to reveal prices.
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham blamed price hikes on a lack of competition.
“We know that fuel price gouging by retailers remains an issue for Queensland motorists, and all stakeholders know it’s a lack of competition that is driving higher prices, “he said. “The Palaszczuk government is working with the RACQ, independent and major retailers on possible solutions.”
Mr Lynham poured cold water on RACQ and opposition demands for a scheme forcing retailers to reveal their prices online, suggesting it could actually increase costs.
“A mandatory real-time monitoring system has been suggested,” Mr Lynham said.
“We need to be sure that it wouldn’t add any red tape that would inadvertently add extra cost to the price of petrol.”
RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith claimed Caltex, Coles, Woolworths and Puma were selling unleaded fuel for around 149.9cpl, with a retail margin of 18cpl.
“Just last week we were praising Cairns for having cheap fuel, but sadly there’s been a backflip at the bowser.”
LNP transport spokesman Steve Minnikin said the Palaszczuk government needed to “get with the program”.
Speaking in Cairns yesterday, Mr Minnikin said a realtime price monitoring system would reduce price spikes by compelling fuel retailers to reveal their pump prices online.
Mareeba motorist John Barnes said there was often a big price gap between Cairns and smaller Far North towns.
“I usually fill up at Emerald Creek but it’s $1.47 there today, so I thought I would fill up where the cheapest fuel is,” Mr Barnes said.
SAVVY SHOPPER: John Barnes filled up his car and two jerry cans at the United service station on Sheridan Street after driving down from Mareeba.