Millie Chester from Paddington always looks around for the best price when it comes to fuel. Picture: Adam Head
Millie Chester from Paddington always looks around for the best price when it comes to fuel. Picture: Adam Head

QLD FUEL GOUGE: Servos gouging hits $1.50 per litre

PETROL stations have slugged families heading back to school with inflated fuel prices of up to $1.50 a litre.

Motorist are paying about 20 cents more than they were less than a week ago.

As southeast Queensland's petrol price cycle peaks again, experts say the cycle isn't driven by demand or oil prices, but by greedy fuel retailers who are making profits higher than in any other capital city.

Even suburbs such as Inala, North Lakes and Mango Hill which generally have cheaper fuel, were yesterday on $1.50.

The RACQ has named Coles service stations and BP as the worst offenders when it comes to jacking up prices.

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said that it was time to start boycotting the big players when their prices were unreasonable.

"What we usually see is the likes of Coles and BP putting their prices up and everyone else following," she said.

"We need to use people power to bring down prices whenever we can."

Millie Chester from Paddington always looks around for the best price when it comes to fuel. Picture: Adam Head
Millie Chester from Paddington always looks around for the best price when it comes to fuel. Picture: Adam Head

Geoff Trotter, the general manager of price-monitoring agency Fueltrac, said the modus operandi of fuel stations seemed to be that when the average pump price was only five or six cents above what they had paid for the fuel, prices would go up.

Mr Trotter agreed that BP and Coles were the main offenders.

A Coles spokesman declined to respond and referred inquiries to the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association for comment on their behalf.

A BP spokeswoman said that generalisations about fuel pricing were challenging as they didn't provide "a complete or necessarily accurate picture".

"A generalised approach would miss the differences ­between local areas and sites, and not take into account the full price cycle, for example which fuel provider leads on the prices going down," she said.

Late last year, a damning report by the nation's consumer watchdog revealed ­service stations were ripping off Brisbane drivers by $50 million a year.

The report found that the average net profit per service station in the Queensland capital was 55 per cent higher than the rest of the country.

Noel Thompson

Both RACQ and Fueltrac have named 7-Eleven as a major market disrupter in southeast Queensland.

Mr Trotter said suburbs that had a 7-Eleven petrol ­station generally enjoyed more reasonable prices.

"You can see pockets of cheaper priced fuel throughout Brisbane and usually that's because a 7-Eleven or other independent is operating in those areas," he said.

Mr Trotter said that the western suburbs were a prime example of suburbs paying too much because there was no significant independent fuel station.

A 7-Eleven spokesman said it aimed to be competitive in each local market.

"We're continuing to grow our network of more than 670 stores, including in Queensland where we opened our 500th fuel site (nationally) in October, and three new stores in a week in December," he said.

The company has developed a fuel app that allows customers to lock in the best local price at 7-Eleven when they see it. Shoppers can then redeem it at any of the stores Australia-wide within the next seven days.

About 850,000 consumers had downloaded the app and saved almost $3.5 million in the two years since its launch, the spokesman said.

Filling up in Brisbane yesterday after travelling down the coast from Tully, Emily Cusack, 30, said she had noticed fuel prices were increasing as she drove south.

"It's more expensive than in Melbourne," she said. "I think this is quite expensive."

Millie Chester, of Paddington, said cost-of-living pressures meant she always looked for the best deal on petrol and planned ahead, even if it meant going a few kilometres out of her way to save at the bowser.

"I'll look at areas that I will be driving in and research the most competitive petrol stations in that area," she said. "It definitely all adds up."



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