AAA Calls for Random Fuel Quality Testing at Service Stations


The Australian Automobile Association has today called on State and Territory Fair Trading and Consumer Affairs Ministers to urgently implement random service station forecourt fuel testing.


The call follows allegations that a number of service stations in Victoria are adding methanol to petrol to avoid paying full fuel excise. The Australian Tax Office has instigated a national investigation of the allegations.


AAA’s Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh, said this latest petrol substitution scam, using methanol as a substitute, highlighted the need for random testing and for national fuel quality standards.


"Without enforceable national standards for fuel and regular random tests to ensure the standards are being met, people will continue to be ripped-off by a handful of unscrupulous operators," Mr. McIntosh said.


"Motorists will remember the toluene substitution scandal of earlier this year. The Government’s answer was to extend excise tax to other products. At the time AAA warned that such a move would not work. In a release dated 3 March we said ‘If toluene is taxed, unscrupulous operators can simply shift to other untaxed or low-taxed products’. This is precisely what has happened.


"We stand by the argument we put forward at the time of the toluene scandal. That is that the simplest and most effective way to protect the interests of motorists and Commonwealth revenue is through strong standards, backed by random testing.


"The Commonwealth has a responsibility to develop enforceable standards for petrol and the States and Territories have a responsibility to consumers to ensure they received exactly what they pay for at their local service station.


"There is a need for State and Territory governments to begin random testing urgently to ensure that the use of fuel components that can potentially damage motor vehicle engines is limited to safe levels," Mr. McIntosh concluded.

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