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Petrol gouging inquiry is overdue | The Canberra Times

The ACT Liberals committed to the fuel watch scheme last month after a series of reports by the Canberra Times  on the price gouging that has been a feature of life here for decades.

Those reports noted fuel prices at one and two bowser service stations within 40 and 50 minutes drive of the ACT were often 15 to 20 cents a litre cheaper than in most Canberra outlets.

This would seem to give the lie to suggestions transport costs and a lack of competition are what keeps our fuel prices high.

The Legislative Assembly inquiry, due to report by the end of June, is one of two serious attempts to explain the ongoing discrepancy. The ACT’s Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission is also looking into the factors affecting petrol pricing in the ACT.

While the pricing issue is a complex minefield influenced by a multitude of national and international factors, it is hard to fathom why Canberra’s pump prices are consistently out of step with those elsewhere.

Mr Barr is spot on when he says the market has failed to deliver competitive fuel pricing for Canberrans and that suppliers were yet to put forward credible reasons to explain this.

According to MotorMouth, a price comparison web site, the average price of unleaded petrol in the ACT has been higher than the prices in Australia’s other capital cities for at least 60 days.

Is it the case, as numerous letter writers to the Canberra Times have claimed, that the major retailers are simply charging what they believe the market will bear?

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Petrol gouging inquiry is overdue.

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