27 September 2023

Petrol prices to soar: Servos ‘on notice’

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With the end of the fuel excise tax cut looming, Eliza Bavin* says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been asked to keep a close eye on retailers and wholesalers for any unfair behaviour.

The cut to the fuel excise tax will come to an end this month, but the Albanese Government is taking steps to make sure petrol prices don’t soar.

There are concerns petrol prices will skyrocket when the excise tax is reinstated, with the consumer watchdog being asked to keep a close eye on retailers and wholesalers for any unfair behaviour.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has resisted calls to extend the cut, due to end on September 29, citing budget pressures.

Albanese described it as a “difficult decision”.

“If prices rise … of course, it has an impact, but that has been factored in of course, by the economic analysis, which has been done,” he told ABC radio.

“We have to make decisions based upon what we can afford, and we have $1 trillion of Liberal Party debt.”

The former Coalition government halved the fuel excise by 22 cents for six months in March, in response to soaring fuel prices.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to ensure retailers do not penalise customers ahead of the reintroduction of the full fuel excise.

The watchdog has been asked to ramp up its monitoring of anti-competitive behaviour and to analyse fuel prices on a daily basis when the full excise is reinstated.

It will also write to fuel companies about passing on any price rises and will warn against giving customers misleading reasons for increases.

The commission has also been asked to notify consumers about the best times to buy petrol, based on their locations and price-cycle data.

The letter to ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb was about making sure Australian motorists got a fair deal at the bowser, Chalmers said.

“Refiners, importers, wholesalers and retailers should consider themselves on notice,” Chalmers said.

“The ACCC is keeping a very close eye on fuel prices across the country to make sure any increases are justifiable.

“There should be no doubt that if there is evidence of misleading or anti-competitive conduct by fuel retailers, the ACCC will take action.”

*Eliza Bavin, Personal Finance Editor, is a senior journalist focusing on economics, personal finance and company news amongst other things.

This article first appeared at au.finance.yahoo.com.

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