High December City/Country Petrol Price Variations to Be Raised With Government


The Australian Automobile Association has released the December petrol price monitoring figures, which reveal variations of up to 21 cents between city and country prices.


The figures show the variation was highest in Western Australia where there was an average 14.4-cent difference between metro and country prices and Queensland where the average variation was 12 cents per litre.


AAA Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh, said that the difference between capital city prices and the price in many country centres is far too high to be explained by transport costs and volume.


He also warned that the latest figures indicated that while the Government’s one and two cent per litre fuel grant scheme worked initially in all States to limit the price differential, that no longer appears to be the case in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.


"In those States, the variation in December was considerably higher than it was in July when the fuel grant scheme was introduced," Mr. McIntosh said.


"There appears to be no logic to the price variations. Alice Springs and Darwin are 1,500 kilometres apart and have a price variation of 8.1 cents. Coober Pedy and Adelaide are 850 kilometres apart with a different of 21.7 cents while Geraldton and Perth are only 420 kilometres apart with a price variation of 14.8 cents."


"In almost all States and Territories there are centres of similar size and similar distances from their capitals with wildly varying price differences. For example in Queensland, Roma (variation 19.6 cents) and Gladstone (variation 9.4 cents) are both about 500 kilometres from Brisbane. In New South Wales, Cowra (variation 9.6 cents) and Yass (variation 3.1 cents) are about 300 kilometres from Sydney.


"One of the main reasons AAA and the motoring clubs monitor petrol prices is to provide an independent assessment of price movements and to alert the Government to any problems that arise. In this case we will be writing to the Government raising concerns about price variations within States, between States and significant increases in price variation between July, when the fuel grant scheme came in, and December.


"I would also once again remind the Government that despite recent world oil price falls, fuel prices remain far too high and that the last thing motorists need is another tax increase of close to two-cents per litre next month through indexation. I would again urge the Government to seriously consider freezing excise in February. If there is not a freeze, over half of what most motorists pay per litre for petrol will be tax," Mr. McIntosh said.

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