The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reports that Launceston motorists pay more for petrol than any other surveyed area in the state.The long-awaited ACCC report into Launceston’s petrol priceshas revealed that motorists could save up to 5 cents a litre at the bowser in a more competitiveretail market.
As anticipated, the report found that the city’s higher prices compared to mainland states was driven byhigher transport costs,operating costs and retail margins, and that reduced retail sites in Launceston since 2007 may have influenced price competition.
But it found thatindependent retailer United Petroleumhad placed major price pressure on other retailers througha discount agreement with the RACT.
ACCC chairman Rod Simssaidthe difference between Launceston and mainland cities should only be 3 to 4cents per litrewhereas the report found that the difference was 12 cents for the last six months of 2015.
He said the situation changed when United Petroleum established a partnership with RACT to offer an 8 cents per litre discount over two months from Februaryat 40 statewide sites, forcing Coles Express and Woolworths to increase their discount offers.
“The deal has saved Launceston people a lot of money …and it gave United comfort that they would get volume out of it,” Mr Sims said.
The report found that the increased discountoffers led to a decrease of 2 cents per litre on average across the statebetween February and April whileretail prices in the five largest cities increased by 6.1 cents.
It found that the differencebetween retail prices and published wholesale prices decreased in Launceston over the discount period by 6.8cents a litre while the gap grew on the mainland by 1.4 cents.
The difference, referred to as gross indicative retail differences (GIRD), was 10 cents perlitre in Launcestonbetween 2007-08 and 2011-12, and 16 cents per litre between 2012-13 and 2014-15.
The report noted that petrol prices between January 2015 and April 2016 were on average 0.6 cents per litre higher than smaller state locations and that Launceston’sGIRD was the state’s second highest between 2007 and 2015.
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