PETROL price gouging continues to be a problem in country areas including Goulburn, says the nation’s competition watchdog.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has unveiled its plan to monitor fuel prices both in the Sydney metropolitan area and in 180 regional centres, with Goulburn included in the list.
Local prices have only dropped across the board to about the $1.20c -1.22 cents per litre mark in response to the market and the lower cost of oil. They are still well above city prices, which sit at about $1/litre.
Yesterday, it was still the independents leading the way. Metro in Clinton St was selling unleaded petrol for 115.7c/l and E10 unleaded for $112.7c/litre.
Budget at the Goulburn Gateway was pitching the same types for 118.7 and 117.9 respectively.
The larger traders, Caltex, Mobil and Shell were generally a few cents higher for both.
Metro has been raking in customers since dropping its prices to as low as $1.12c/l for E10.
But the larger oil companies represented locally had not responded by doing the same, a staff member told the Post.
“It’s only in the past week when the market has gone down that they’ve dropped prices,” she said.
Their failure to budge prior could be put down to oil companies dictating terms or franchisees making their own decisions, she said.
In its 230-page ‘Monitoring of the Australian Petroleum Industry’ report, the ACCC stated that in the December 2013 quarter, regular unleaded in Goulburn cost an average 155.9c/l and E10 - 154.1. The same applied in the March, 2014 quarter, however for June, it went down to 154.9 c/l for regular unleaded, and 153.1 c/l for E10.
Avid petrol watcher Leon Oberg believes they need to drop much more to reflect oil prices in the current market. “The Metro service station in Clinton St was the only one in town that brought down prices to reflect the cheaper price of oil,” he said.
“The others were much slower off the mark. I would suggest it’s definitely cheaper to buy petrol at the Metro service station without a docket than it is at the supermarket chains with a docket!
“The prices are there to be seen and still need to come down a long way yet. I really hope that the ACCC can have a thorough look at this issue and do some good investigations.”
Hume MP Angus Taylor told the Post he too was disappointed at the difference in petrol prices between metropolitan areas and regional towns and cities.
“Any difference in price is of great concern to me and I strongly welcome the ACCC’s inquiry into petrol gouging,” Mr Taylor said.
“I know that ACCC chairman Rod Sims is taking this issue very seriously. I personally pay a lot of attention to the fuel prices as I have to buy a lot of it myself. I travel upwards of 8,000km per week around the electorate.
“If prices don’t come down to reflect lower oil prices then there’s definitely a major issue. I have certainly fielded a couple of concerns from constituents, but the majority, who are local families and business people and are the ones who tend to buy petrol on a regular basis are usually too busy to come and talk to their local member.
“It’s therefore my job to be the voice of the people of Hume, and I hope the ACCC can certainly take a closer look into this petrol price gouging issue.”