ACCC to watch petrol stations more closely as fuel prices hit record highs

With petrol and diesel set to rise in the coming weeks, retailers are being warned not to take the leap.

The federal government has asked the country’s main consumer watchdog to step up its monitoring of fuel prices, just days after the authority published its latest quarterly report on the Australian oil market.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its June quarter report on Friday, which found the average annual price of petrol was the highest since 2008 in nominal terms – although only the highest in eight years once inflation is taken into account.

Gasoline prices have reached this level despite efforts to make it more affordable after the former federal government temporarily cut the fuel excise tax in half.

The drastic cost-cutting measure was introduced after fuel prices soared amid ‘surging demand, production cuts by Russia and the OPEC cartel and war in Ukraine’ , reported the ACCC.

In a few weeks, the cost of fuel will increase by 22.1 cents per liter – or 24.3 cents per liter with GST – once the federal government’s cut-price fuel excise tax ends, returning to the full 44.2 cents per litre.

According ABC News, The federal treasurer has written to the ACCC asking the independent body to increase its monitoring of gas stations ahead of the price hike, fearing that some are taking advantage of the situation to profit by raising prices earlier or more than the fixed amount.

“We will be engaging with fuel wholesalers and retailers shortly to say that we do not expect to see any unusual or abnormal increases in wholesale and retail prices in the days leading up to, on the day of or after the reintroduction of the rate. full fuel excise,” ACCC President Gina Cass-Gottlieb said in a news release late last week.

The newly elected federal government has confirmed that the six-month cut – put in place by the previous government to help ease cost-of-living pressures – will not be extended after it expires on September 29, 2022.

In the ACCC report, the consumer watchdog confirmed that international benchmark wholesale gasoline prices were the highest on record in nominal and real terms, peaking in June 2022, but have since declined thanks to a cheaper crude oil market.

“Motorists are reminded that prices will continue to fluctuate with changes in international prices and the exchange rate, as well as petrol price cycles in the five major capitals. Our monitoring and analysis will assess and report of all factors influencing retail prices. The ACCC will continue to report weekly to consumers on fuel price trends and when to find the cheapest fuel,” Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement. hurry.

“Shopping around and using fuel price apps can help consumers find the cheapest gas in their area. Our previous research has shown that buying from independent retailers and avoiding the top of the petrol price cycle in the five biggest capitals can save motorists a lot of money.

Ben Zachary

Ben Zachariah is an experienced automotive writer and journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for over 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the field of classic car investing.

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