Bunbury fuel prices spark anger in residents

FURIOUS Bunbury residents have voiced concerns about fuel prices in the South West being considerably higher than that of the neighbouring Peel region.

Over the past seven days, the average ULP price in Mandurah was 109.18 cents per litre, 14 cents lower than Bunbury, which recorded an average of 123.50 cents per litre.

But Department of Commerce market analysis manager Lynne Gould said the South West’s higher prices stem from a lack of competition in the market.

“Perth and Mandurah have a much larger competitive base and experience a weekly fuel cycle where prices are cheap on Mondays with a price hike on Tuesdays,” she said.

“The main factor influencing regional prices is the benchmark price which for Australia is the Singapore prices for ULP and diesel.”

Bunbury fuel prices have been steadily decreasing since July 2015 and appear set to continue their descent, according to Ms Gould.

This month’s average price of 125.3 cents per litre is the lowest Bunbury has seen in since February 2015, which posted an average of 122.4 cents per litre.

But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found motorists were still not benefiting fully at the petrol bowser from the plunge in global oil prices over the past year due to high refiner and retail margins.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the consumer watchdog believed retail prices were unreasonably high in the second half of last year.

“The players in the market should be explaining what is going on, and it doesn’t do any harm to let them know that we are watching,” he said.

Bunbury business Wight and Emmett owner James Searle, who travels the region regularly for work, said he felt he was being “ripped off” by the difference in South West and Peel prices.

“We are always using a fair amount of fuel having to travel around the entire South West,” he said.

“The higher prices really add to the costs of running the business – I feel like I’m being ripped off and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

For more information or for today’s fuel prices, visit fuel watch.wa.gov.au

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