Bowser ripoffs: When Roma can expect to see cheaper fuel
WITH petrol stations in North Queensland and Toowoomba dropping to less than 100 cents per litre (cpl), Roma residents have been left wondering when they will also reap the price benefits.
RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have been warned petrol retailers to cut prices below 120cpl as consumers battled through the coronavirus crisis, however prices are still exceeding 130cpl at some Roma service stations.
With Caltex Roma on Raglan St and BP Roma Truckstop on Mitchell Rd charging 131.9cpl, consumers are angered that the huge drop in the price of global oil and the wholesale fuel price is not being passed on at the bowser.
"Since the start of March, the average terminal gate price has fallen by 31cpl, which is unheard of," Ms Smith said.
"We welcome the ACCC's move to put fuel companies on notice for ripping motorists off when times are tough."
Ms Smith said while the high prices in Roma are consistent with most of regional Queensland, she would have expected to see a drop in prices by now.
"Given the recent falls in the oil price and the Terminal Gate Price we would expect prices in Roma to be no higher than 115cpl."
Ms Smith said that there is a longer lag time between movements in the oil price and retail prices in regional Queensland due to lower sales volumes and stock turnover.
"In some cases it can be up to six weeks," she said.
"Roma is often one of the cheapest regional centres due to competition among retail sites along the Warrego corridor."
The possibility of price fixing regulations has been raised by the ACCC and considered by RACQ, but this is a last resort option. We are hopeful that fuel companies will do the right thing and pass the savings on to motorists."
Senator Susan McDonald has angrily taken aim at fuel providers who refuse to pass on lower world oil prices to motorists in regional Queensland, calling on people to name and shame offenders.
Senator McDonald said the regions often bore heavier fuel costs than larger centres, and welcomed news that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was keeping track of service stations engaging in "blatant gouging".
"The ACCC says that with world oil prices plummeting to just over $20 a barrel, prices below $1.30 a litre at retail outlets is appropriate," she said.
"Regional Queenslanders accept costs of transporting goods from down south must be included in retail prices, but what we're seeing in a time of drastic reductions in world oil costs is despicable.
Senator McDonald said they expect fuel outlets to show some leadership and fairness and will continue to ensure the ACCC pressures them to do the right thing.
"I encourage motorists to use fuel price tracking websites and apps such as RACQ and NRMA to find the cheapest petrol and to see which retailers are clearly price gouging at a time when all Australians need to pull together in a time of crisis," she said.
"Any business that engages in this type of predatory behaviour during this pandemic should be ashamed."
A Caltex spokesperson said ""We understand our customers' desire to see lower fuel prices. Fuel prices in Roma have been lower on average when compared to other regional areas in Queensland.
"While oil prices have fallen, it is important to note that the continued weakening of the Australian dollar (given oil is traded in US dollars) and reductions in overall consumer demand can impact the cost and in turn the overall retail price of fuel.
"Price differentials between metropolitan and regional areas are also not uncommon. The ACCC has found metropolitan areas tend to have a high concentration of competing service stations and sell much larger volumes of fuel.
"Higher transport costs can also contribute to higher fuel prices in regional areas."
MP Member for Warrego, Ann Leahy said in a time when families are feeling a financial stretch, petrol retailers need to reduce their prices as the cheaper fuel comes through.
"Everything we do in our regional areas links the cost of fuel to the cost of living, such as transporting goods, sending cattle," she said.
"Fuel is a huge cost that adds to our cost our living.
"So, I appeal to our retailers. As that reduction comes through, we need our consumers to also see the reduction."
Petrol prices in Roma as of April 3 at 11am:
*Download PetrolSpy for further price updates.
Liberty Roma - 72 Quinton St:
BP Kookas Central - Bowen and Arthur Sts
Woolworths Caltex Roma - 20 Bowen St Cnr Gregory St
Caltex Roma 145-157 Raglan St
BP Roma Truckstop - Mitchell Rd
Caltex Roma Diesel Stop - Lot 16 Billy Bob Way
Pacific Petroleum Roma - 14 Lindsay St
United 24 Roma - 44589 Warrego Hwy