DRIVERS only had a short time to enjoy prices of around $1 a litre.
DRIVERS only had a short time to enjoy prices of around $1 a litre.

Fuel bowser - or gouger?

MOTORISTS enjoying the recent downturn in petrol prices may have suspected the good times would not last.

They were right. Fuel costs are likely to rise in coming weeks due to a weak Australian dollar and increasing wholesale prices.

Georgie Wells, from Caltex, said benchmark Singapore fuel prices had increased by $20 a barrel since the start of the year, which equated to about 18 or 19 cents a litre. At the same time the value of the Australian dollar had dropped.

Ms Wells said the majority of Caltex-branded service stations were at liberty to set their own retail prices.

She said Caltex did not discuss its system of wholesale pricing, except to say it was a factor in retail prices, along with costs such as transport costs.

Petrol retailer Georg Vansca, of Bonalbo, said he had been forced to increase the retail price of his fuel by 5 cents a litre every week since January 7.

Yesterday, his unleaded fuel was selling for 124.7 cents a litre, up from his rock-bottom price in mid-December of 110 cents per litre.

Mr Vansca said that when calculating fuel costs it was no longer possible to rely on the old formula of a one cent per litre increase at the bowser for every $1 increase in the cost of a barrel of oil.

“Five years ago, the Australian dollar was worth roughly the same as it is today, and the cost of a barrel of oil was also about the same, yet we are now paying 50 cents more per litre at the bowser.
“I just can’t make head nor tail of it,” he said.


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