Shop around as SEQ fuel prices hike

As the major fuel retailers initiated an early price hike in the south east, the State’s peak motoring body has called on drivers to fill the tank while cheaper fuel was still available.

Fuel petrol cash

The latest data revealed 25 percent of Brisbane service stations had hiked their prices to 160 cents per litre (cpl) – and the hike had again been led by the majors, Coles Express, Caltex, BP and Woolworths.

RACQ spokesperson Lucinda Ross said with indicative retail margins sitting at 10cpl, it was unusual for prices to have hiked so soon and service stations in the south east continued to take advantage of drivers.

“Normally at this stage of the south east Queensland petrol price cycle, we’d be expecting to see cheap fuel in the next few days – instead, a quarter Brisbane’s servos have hiked their prices to 160cpl or more,” Ms Ross said.

“Drivers have every right to be frustrated – prices were extremely high, then they were high, and now they’re extremely high again, without the reprieve we were expecting and should’ve seen.”

The price hike came as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed independents had quadrupled their market share in the past 15 years.

The ACCC’s latest petrol industry report examined retail market shares in Australia and showed there was a greater diversity of retailers in the market compared with 15 years ago when it was dominated by big brands like BP and Caltex.

Ms Ross said it was important drivers took advantage of challenger brands when buying fuel.

“As we’ve seen today, and time and time again, the major retailers Coles, BP, Caltex and Woolworths charge the most for fuel and are usually the first to hike prices,” she said.

“But drivers have a choice and should fill up at whichever service station offers the cheapest fuel and that’s usually the independents. Today in the south east, there’s plenty of petrol on offer for 150cpl or less, so fill up if you spot that price.”

Ms Ross said while a recent rise in the global oil price and the falling Australian dollar had contributed to current high prices, it was important drivers shopped with their heads.

“Punish the servos who’re ripping you off, and reward those selling cheaper fuel,” she said.

“If you’re in the south east always watch the fuel price cycle and only fill up when it’s at the bottom – doing that can save a household around $200 a year.”

Drivers could find the cheapest fuel prices in their area at RACQ’s Fair Fuel website.