Rockhampton’s big fuel slug

ROCKHAMPTON district motorists, like Del Babuik, are copping among the dearest fuel prices of any of Australia’s 30 major population centres.

A conservative estimate shows the owners of the 41,081 passenger vehicles that use Rockhampton roads are being left at least $2.5million short-changed compared to their northern neighbours at Mackay.

The situation is frustrating the state’s peak motoring organisation, the RACQ, who have been beating their heads against a brick wall as they constantly point out the huge disparity.

RACQ Central Queensland regional manager Colin Goodsell said Rocky prices for unleaded fuel consistently averaged about six cents more than Mackay and often were dearer than those at inland centres, such as Emerald.

A check on the MotorMouth website on Friday showed of the country’s 30 largest population centres – of which Rockhampton comes 25th – the city had the fourth dearest fuel, marginally cheaper than Darwin in the Northern Territory, Launceston in Tasmania, and Coffs Harbour in NSW.

The $1.25 price was six cents dearer than Brisbane and seven more than Mackay, while in Sydney motorists could buy fuel nearly 20 cents a litre cheaper.

Del lives at the coast and works at a Central Queensland mine at Middlemount.

He’s switched from a four-wheel drive to the cheaper Suzuki Swift to make the commute.

On Friday, Del topped up the car’s tank in Rockhampton.

“I’ve started taking the Suzuki out to work because the big Hilux was a lot more thirsty,” Del said.

He pointed out Queensland had lost its eight cents a litre subsidy, which used to keep the state’s fuel prices lower compared to the rest of Australia.

Mr Goodsell said the RACQ and local politicians had repeatedly pointed out the discrepancy to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), but so far it had been to no avail.

He said it was unfair to compare Rockhampton to big metropolitan centres, but he could see no reason why the prices were higher than other comparable sized regional centres.

“It’s very disappointing,” Mr Goodsell said.

“The ACCC should he having a good hard look at places like Rockhampton and get to the bottom of why motorists here are paying a premium.

“The bottom line is nothing is happening.

“We are certainly trying to have dialogue with lots of people in the industry.

“A lot of extra money is being taken out of the local economy.”

Last year the Australian Bureau of Statistics said there were 41,081 passenger vehicles using Rockhampton’s roads.

The conservative estimate was based on an average weekly fuel use of $25 per passenger vehicle in Rockhampton and the difference compared to Mackay’s cheaper price, which on Friday was about seven cents a litre cheaper.

A check of the MotorMouth website on Friday showed regional prices at -

Rocky - 125.6 cents

Mackay – $1.18

Sydney – $1.06

Brisbane - $1.19

Townsville – $1.16

Toowoomba – $1.13

Bendigo – $1.17

Wagga Wagga – $1.24

Woolongong – $1.19

Launceston – $1.26

Darwin – $1.26

Coffs Harbour – $1.26.

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