Fuelling the ire
COFFS Coast residents sick of paying 30-cents per litre more for fuel than Sydney motorists are banding together to pressure retailers to give them a fair go.
The problem was highlighted this week when, in some parts of Sydney, fuel prices were discounted to about $1 per litre for the first time in six years.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission can't set prices, but they can investigate behaviour that could be in breach of legislation.
An example is the Victorian case involving BP, Caltex, Coles Express and Woolworths as well as service provider Informed Sources which they allege allows the fuel retailers to compare pricing and decrease competition.
Following a direction from Small Business Minister Bruce Billson, the ACCC will begin reporting on fuel pricing quarterly in metropolitan and 180 regional areas.
Coffs Fuel Action is being set up as a grassroots response to the issue with a website and Twitter account due to go live soon.
Yesterday, the average fuel price for unleaded petrol in Sydney was $1.11 while in Coffs Harbour it was $1.43, according to the NRMA's petrol watch website.
As well as lobbying retailers to lower prices, the group hopes to provide advice to consumers on how to get the most out of a tank and which fuels to use, among other tips.
The group has already taken small steps by approaching retailers about their pricing, finding many open to the idea of narrowing the gap.
The Halls Rd Caltex reportedly dropped prices by up to 3c per litre this week and United Petroleum is reportedly open to hearing from the public.
There are hopes that if enough residents contact United through their website the company might heed the call and pressure other retailers likewise.
Competition at a retail level can only affect about 12% of the price with taxes, wholesale and distribution costs making up the bulk of the price.
However, with the price of crude oil being halved in the last 12-months, people in regional areas should expect a reduction.