Service stations have been slammed for “exploiting” international fuel prices to ramp up the cost at the bowser. File picture
Service stations have been slammed for “exploiting” international fuel prices to ramp up the cost at the bowser. File picture

Servos roasted over petrol price spike

THE RACQ has slammed service stations for exploiting international pressures on oil prices to maximise their margins.

As more servos yesterday pushed pump prices up to a six-month high of 167.9¢/litre for unleaded petrol, the motoring organisation said that delivered a margin of 29.8¢/litre above the wholesale price they paid.

"During the last hike, indicative retail margins peaked at 21.4¢/litre. That's a big difference," RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said.

But the group which represents service station owners said they were justified in cashing in at the peak of the price cycle so they could afford to discount at the bottom and compete for volume.

"Last week margins were negative, but no one talks about that," said Mark McKenzie, CEO of the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association.

The underlying petrol price rise was driven by two international factors, he said.

First the global industry had underestimated demand in quarter one of 2019, and second, the impact of US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

Combined, they had pushed up the benchmark fuel price in the Asia-Pacific market by 46 per cent since January, adding 22¢/litre at the bowser.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington agreed the ACCC had a role to play in investigating fuel prices.



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