Coles, BP in petrol rip-off

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JOHN ROLFE COST OF LIV­ING EDI­TOR

COLES petrol sta­tions are fleec­ing Syd­ney mo­torists, charg­ing 4 cents a litre more than Wool­worths and 9c/L ex­tra com­pared with the cheap­est chain of ser­vos, new re­search by the con­sumer cops re­veals.

BP is also dud­ding driv­ers, tak­ing 3.5c/L more than the av­er­age across all re­tail­ers, the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion re­port has found.

Based on prices across 2017, the least ex­pen­sive chain was Speed­way at 5.5c/L be­low the mar­ket mid­point.

The re­sults sug­gested a car owner who bought 60L a week from Coles would pay $300 more per year than if they had bought from Speed­way, and $125 ex­tra com­pared to the cost at Wool­worths sta­tions.

ACCC chair­man Rod Sims said he was taken aback by just how much dif­fer­ence there was be­tween the cheap­est re­tailer and the most ex­pen­sive, given the fuel be­ing sold was al­most al­ways iden­ti­cal.

He said the pric­ing dis­par­ity had grown dra­mat­i­cally since 2007, when it was just 2.3c/L, so the de­ci­sion about where to buy was now much more sig­nif­i­cant. “I was sur­prised … that Coles and BP would be that much higher priced than Wool­worths, 7-Eleven and United on the one hand and then the true in­de­pen­dents on the other,” Mr Sims told The Sun­day Tele­graph.

“Those dif­fer­ences are huge — we are talk­ing up to 9c/L.”

While some peo­ple were choos­ing to use price apps such as the NSW gov­ern­ment’s Fuel-Check to find an af­ford­able place to fill up, a re­cent sur­vey by the Aus­tralasian Con­ve­nience and Pe­tro­leum Mar­keters As­so­ci­a­tion showed nine in 10 mo­torists al­ways bought from the same one or two ser­vos.

It was those con­sumers Mr Sims was hop­ing would act on the ACCC’s find­ings and break what could be a costly habit.

Mr Sims said it was not the case that cheaper sta­tions were sell­ing in­fe­rior qual­ity petrol.

“You don’t have to worry about go­ing into these places and get­ting some com­bi­na­tion of fuel and wa­ter,” he said.

“They are get­ting their fuel from the ma­jors.

“It usu­ally comes from the same tank (as the petrol sold by BP and Coles).”

The main dif­fer­ence was in­side the shop, he said.

Coles and BP had big­ger, nicer out­lets, he said.

“The in­de­pen­dents of­ten don’t have much of a store,” Mr Sims said. “You can’t buy much more than a Coke and a pack of fags.”

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