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Drivers ‘miss out’ on fuel price drop

TASMANIAN motorists are not benefiting from a decrease in wholesale fuel prices, RACT’s member assist general manager, Darren Moody, says.

After the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found consumers in Australia’s five biggest cities were missing out on potential savings, Mr Moody said Tasmanian petrol retailers were also not lowering bowser prices at the same rate as a drop in the wholesale price.

The ACCC said fuel prices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth did not dip as much as expected in the second half of 2015, given a plunge in global oil prices.

“We’ve been talking for a long time about profit margins being too high for the retailer to be able to argue they’re just operating profitably,” Mr Moody said.

The wholesale price of fuel in Hobart has fallen by 4.5 cents per litre in the past week, but Mr Moody said he had yet to see that drop reflected in retail prices across the state.

He said the current wholesale price of 101.3 cents per litre meant retail prices should be at a maximum of $1.15 a litre, but that wasn’t the case.

“We’ve seen fuel at 117.5 cents but no lower than that,” he said.

Mr Moody said retailers in country areas such as Scamander and St Helens were leading the way on fuel prices, while built-up areas “gauged motorists”.

He said he received multiple calls from RACT members about fuel prices each day.

An ACCC report into Launceston fuel prices is expected to be released by the end of March.

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