Fuel price clarity

LATROBE Valley petrol stations will soon be banned from displaying discounted fuel prices in a state-wide crack down on “misleading” fuel advertising.

Under the regulations to be introduced later this year, Victorian petrol stations will only be able to advertise the full price of fuel.

Discounted prices will be removed from advertising altogether.

Currently, Caltex and Shell service stations display the discounted price, which is only available to consumers with discount dockets from the companies’ aligned with Woolworths and Coles supermarkets.

Yesterday, Woolworths Caltex on Vestan Drive, Morwell was advertising fuel for 111.3 cents per litre.

However, the actual undiscounted price for consumers without a docket was 115.3 per litre.

The Shell service station on George Street, Morwell was displaying an unleaded price of 109.9, but this was only available to those with a six cents per litre Coles fuel voucher.

State Member for Morwell Russell Northe described the proposal as a “common sense approach”.

“There is no doubt there is some confusion for motorists so it (the changes) will provide some clarity,” Mr Northe said.

“Discounted prices have always been a bone of frustration for smaller fuel outlets that don’t offer the discounts. They are certainly at a disadvantage and I think this will help.”

He said feedback from local independent outlets was that the changes were a positive step.

“Hopefully it will provide more competition and lower fuel prices in our region,” Mr Northe said.

“However, the price of fuel itself is the bigger issue.”

A spokesperson for the Facebook page ‘Latrobe Valley fuel price rip-off’, which has spoken out against Valley fuel prices, said anything that cleared up petrol pricing was a good thing.

However, they described the State Government’s claim the changes would increase transparency as “a bit of a joke”.

“If they want to focus on transparency, the whole supply train needs to be looked at first,” the spokesperson said.

Recent RACV market research found more than two thirds of motorists were “genuinely confused” about fuel pricing.

“We have been campaigning for this change for some time,” RACV general manager public policy Brian Negus said.

“The actual price you pay needs to be the one on the board.”

Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Minister Jane Garrett said the proposal was a simple change that would create fairness for all motorists.

“We know the majority of Victorians have found these fuel boards confusing and misleading and they would like to see this changed,” Ms Garrett said.

“These changes will mean every Victorian will know exactly how much they are going to pay at the pump.

“Motorists can then make informed decisions about when and where they buy fuel.”

Spokespeople for Woolworths and Coles confirmed each of the supermarkets would continue to offer discounted fuel dockets.

Motorists slogged

TRARALGON motorists were slogged the most at the pump across the state this past week, paying 7.38 cents more than the regional Victorian average.

While petrol prices across the Latrobe Valley saw a slight decline over the past week, price falls across the state and a small 0.5 cent decline in Traralgon prices saw the town cough up more than any other regional centre.

According to data from the RACV, Traralgon retailers were charging an average of 120.5 cents per litre for the seven-day period ending on Tuesday.

In comparison, Morwell fuel prices fell to an average of 117.3 cents per litre, down 2.5 cents per litre from the previous week.

For the third week running Wodonga recorded the lowest median price, this week averaging 100.6 cents per litre.

This was slightly down from last week’s average of 101.9 cents.