The Queensland government is being urged to introduce real-time fuel price reporting as prices are predicted to soar in the state’s south-east.
The state’s peak motoring body RACQ says prices in the region will climb to three-year highs in coming days.
Dozens of Brisbane service stations have already increased prices to 151.9 cents per litre.
RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith says at that price, service stations’ retail margins are sitting at 27.5 cents per litre.
“If this trend continues, we could potentially see a three-year record high next week,” Ms Smith said.
RACQ says a real-time price reporting system would help customers make a more informed decision due to more retailers providing their price information.
“Not only will this help motorists to save money but it’ll force servos selling at a higher price to lower their bowser costs in order to get customers,” Ms Smith said.
The introduction of a similar program in NSW called Fuel Check had resulted in prices across Sydney falling by two cents a litre on average, she said.
If that average was applied statewide to Queensland, Ms Smith said it would save motorists $70 million a year.
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington backed the RACQ’s call for real-time reporting.
“We all know that competition drives down prices,” Ms Frecklington said.
“It works in other states, Queenslanders are missing out.”
Queensland State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said real-time reporting was a good idea, but one that had been implemented nationally.
Mr Lynham said operating multiple state systems would put too much pressure on independent retailers and the Queensland government wants the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to be granted the powers and legislation to act on the issue.
“We need nationwide. It’s very expensive for small, independent retailers to have different systems operating in every state, so it’s only the big people that will benefit,” Mr Lynham said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has previously resisted rolling out a statewide live fuel tracker.
Mark McKenzie, CEO of the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA), last month dismissed consumers were crying out for more competitive prices.
He said retailers with discounted prices were frequently overlooked for “gleaming service stations that are locally convenient” or which have a wide range of products.
“If community concern was as high as some like the RACQ would suggest, then we would have expected long queues outside service stations that continually discount, and no customers at the higher priced service stations,” Mr McKenzie told The New Daily in January.
“But the reality is that such behaviours are not occurring, and we believe that is because people are making decisions based on the total petrol-convenience offering – not just the price of petrol.”
The national consumer watchdog last year estimated Brisbane motorists could save about $40 million through the measure, pushing regular unleaded petrol down about 2 cents per litre.
“Compared with Sydney, Brisbane has fewer independent chains operating in the retail market, and they do not price as aggressively,” the ACCC told The New Daily in a statement last month.
“Increased transparency and promotion of vigorous and effective price competition can lead to lower petrol prices. In Brisbane there is usually a wide range of prices at retail petrol sites across the city.”
ACCC analysis last year said petrol in Brisbane was the most expensive of all Australian capital cities, with an average price 2.7cpl higher than the average across the other four largest cities.