Motorists ‘ripped off’

A Bairnsdale fuel wholesaler has blown the lid on the “huge” profits major Latrobe Valley fuel outlets are making at current pump prices.

The wholesaler, who did not want to be named, has been in the fuel business for 40 years.

He said based on his buying price, Traralgon retailers were purchasing fuel for 87.26 cents per litre, including freight, on Saturday.

However, fuel in the town was selling for about 120 cents per litre and has so for the past month.

The wholesaler branded the price mark up as “ridiculous” and said retailers were ripping off the public.

“They should be making a 12-cent-per-litre profit price, which is reasonable,” the wholesaler said.

According to the wholesaler, even on a 20 cent profit, Saturday’s prices should have been about 107.26 cents per litre.

“Prices in the Latrobe Valley are exceptionally high,” the wholesaler said.

“They are making it about 10 cents (per litre) above what it should be, that’s huge money.”

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said he was not surprised by the news.

“This indicates what most Latrobe Valley motorists feel is happening and we feel like we are being ripped off,” Mr Northe said.

He said while much of the focus was on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigating the fuel price discrepancies, it was up to the fuel retailers to come forward and explain their pricing rationale.

But Mr Northe said it was also up to motorists to take a stance.

“Maybe we need to stand up and rally and support those fuel outlets that offer the cheapest prices,” Mr Northe said.

“This would ensure those charging more would suffer as a consequence. Maybe that’s what we need to consider.”

Traralgon motorists have experienced little relief, with fuel prices remaining consistently high over the past month.

Data from the RACV shows for the seven-day period ending Tuesday, motorists paid an average of 119.5 cents per litre. This was down just 0.3 cents per litre from the previous week.

Moe residents paid an average of 117.5 cents per litre at the pump, while Morwell drivers averaged 115.6 cents per litre.

The Victorian regional average was 112.0 cents per litre, 7.5 cents per litre cheaper than Traralgon’s average. The highest recorded price across the state was Koo Wee Rup with 120.7 cents per litre, while the lowest was found in Bairnsdale at 100.8 cents per litre.