Tasmanian motorists are being urged to support fuel retailers with lower offerings as high prices continue to sting hip pockets around the state.
RACT Group chief executive Harvey Lennon said on Thursday it was “no secret” Tasmanians were paying too much for petrol – particularly in metropolitan areas.
With the wholesale price below $1.20 per litre, motorists should be buying unleaded fuel for less than $1.40 a litre, Mr Lennon said.
“This would allow for a reasonable profit margin for retailers as well as easing the burden on Tasmanian household budgets.”
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“As a general rule, we are seeing lower prices in regional areas, which indicates urban retailers are obtaining very high margins.
“We are receiving calls from motorists daily complaining about high fuel prices – it is time for the bigger retailers to act.”
Mr Lennon congratulated retailers who were doing the “fair thing” and selling petrol at $1.34 per litre or less, and suggested motorists to support those retailers to encourage others to drop their prices too.
He added that the RACT Group had also raised concerns with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Fuel, like most commodities, is an unregulated good in Australia, meaning providers are able to set their own prices.
As colluding on prices could constitute cartel conduct – a serious anti-competitive offence under the Competition and Consumer Act – prices are set independently of competitors.
The ACCC’s petrol monitoring report for the September 2018 quarter found average prices in Hobart were 12.4 cents per litre higher than the five largest capital cities.
At the time of the report’s release, ACCC chair Rod Sims advised customers to keep an eye on the price cycles information to figure out the best time to buy, and use petrol websites and apps to find the cheapest petrol stations in their area.
Only Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth are subject to price cycles.
“If you live outside the five largest cities, you can still use fuel price websites and apps to find the cheapest petrol stations in your town,” Mr Sims said.
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