Fuel price frustration continues to grow

Local politicians have been “inundated” with fuel price complaints recently, as frustration builds among local motorists over ongoing differences between regional and metro bowser prices.

State Member for Morwell Russell Northe and Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said recent high fuel prices were “severely impacting” on family budgets.

“There are clear differences in the price of fuel as you venture from town to town in Gippsland, which is frustrating motorists and causing widespread concern in the region,” Mr Chester said.

“It is illogical that fuel can be cheaper in Bairnsdale than it is in Traralgon, yet we are constantly told that cartage costs are to blame.”

After contacting the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson, Mr Chester and Mr Northe said they had not received any plausible reason for the price disparity.

The local members said written responses from Mr Ferguson and the ACCC detailed the effect of international crude oil production on local costs, while the ACCC predicted a recent reduction in international prices were expected to flow through to Australia’s major cities.

“(However) the ACCC has found that it takes longer for these prices to flow through in the regional areas, which appears to be due to the lower volumes sold and the lower levels of competition in regional areas,” ACCC chief executive Brian Cassidy wrote.

However, Mr Northe said the excuses were wearing thin with local motorists.

“Major suppliers need to explain the price differences. How can prices peak in the Latrobe Valley and then reduce again in parts of East Gippsland but still remain above city levels?” he said.