Motorists should be rallying against petrol stations' record margins as they're costing Australians approximately $750 million more each year,
the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warns.
Petrol prices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth shot up
significantly in the last quarter of 2017, the competition watchdog reports. The average price reached 135.1 cents
a litre – a surge of 12.6 cents within the quarter.
The gross retail margins are at their fattest level since the watchdog
began recording them in 2002. This represents an additional cost to
motorists of more than $750 million a year, assuming similar margins for sales
of all petrol types, the ACCC says.
"Consumers can save significantly by timing their purchases during the
price cycle, which encourages retailers to be more competitive," says Rod
Sims, chair of the ACCC.
"Retail prices in the larger capital cities can vary by around 25 cents per
litre to 30 cents per litre near the time that price cycles are
increasing," he adds.
Sims also recommends motorists "fight back against these high prices" by shopping around using
fuel-price comparison websites and apps.
Not all of the price surge is owed to fatter margins, the ACCC
acknowledges, but the extra padding accounts for about a third.
The remaining two-thirds of the price increase relates to the rising cost of
crude oil and refined petrol, and a lower exchange rate against the US dollar.
"The ACCC accepts that some of the increase in gross retail margins has
been due to increased costs; the information we have, however, indicates
that this contribution does not explain the bulk of the increase," says
"Petrol retailers' margins are the highest they have ever been and
motorists are paying for it."