Who?s the bunny when it comes to filling up?

STEVE Cansdell is urging motorists to beat the annual Easter petrol price hike by taking practical steps.

"The big oil companies' annual Easter rip-off is on again with the NRMA predicting significant price hikes this weekend, but there are four easy steps locals can take to ease the pain," said the Nationals member for Clarence.

His advice is to fill up today before fuel prices rise too much and buy just enough over the weekend to get you through until Tuesday; slow down to improve fuel economy; checking oil levels and tyre wear to save on petrol consumption and turn down fuel-guzzling airconditioning. Mr Cansdell said people should not blame their local servo for the price rises, because their margins were small and they had to pass on whatever the multinationals charge them.

Caltex Australia yesterday predicted they would be accused of Easter price gouging, but denied it.

"History shows that petrol prices don't jump because of public holidays, although this claim is made at almost every holiday period," said Caltex managing director and CEO Des King.

"Charts of petrol prices from last Easter clearly show discount cycles continued up to and through the holiday period. There were no abnormal price increases.

"The myth of holiday price increases was debunked in Caltex's submission last year to the Senate inquiry into petrol pricing. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission submission also debunked the myth.

"Caltex's profit in 2006 was only 2.2 cents per litre on average for all petroleum products sold.

"Despite this, we are sure to see the same old claims of price gouging and profiteering ahead of the Easter holidays, and unsubstantiated calls for yet more price investigations.

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