Cairns petrol study shows motorists taken for a ride

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has handed down a report into Cairns fuel prices, revealing profits at service stations in the far north Queensland city were 38 percent higher than the national average.

This report also showed over the past five years Cairns motorists paid on average 11 cents per litre (cpl) more for unleaded petrol (ULP) than those in major cities around Australia, with a lack of competition evident.

“The ACCC’s Cairns petrol market report confirms what motorists have suspected for a long time: they are paying too much for fuel and contributing to very high profits for retailers in the area,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“Competition in the Cairns fuel market is weak and unfortunately it is consumers who are paying for this at the bowser. While weak competition sees higher prices for consumers, of itself this does not reflect any breach of competition or consumer laws.”

Ms Sims said the report found the main reasons for higher Cairns prices were higher retail profit margins on fuel, higher wholesale prices, and higher retail operating costs per litre.

“Compared with historical retail margins and profits, and those of similar sized towns, retail margins and profits in Cairns are currently very high,” he said.

RACQ’s Renee Smith said the motoring body would not rest until prices in Cairns dropped to a fair level.

“We will use this data to push for petrol price board regulation in Cairns and around the State and greater fuel pricing transparency,” Ms Smith said.

“Price board regulation is about getting rid of the confusing discount signage and transparency can be improved by access to real time prices.

“We call on Cairns motorists to vote with their wallets – and shun those service stations with the dearest prices.”

More to come..