Fuel prices on the rise after short reprieve
LAST month consumers had a fleeting but much welcomed reprieve when fuel prices plummeted across the Clarence Valley to around the 115 cents a litre mark.
But, the price hike on fuel is back, with Clarence Valley fuel rising to about 130 cents in the space of two weeks.
Consumers are outraged and according to Managing Director of HEH Australian Petroleum Consultancy Kevin Hughes they have every right to be.
"People who live in Grafton and other regional centres have truly suffered," Mr Hughes said.
"The prices did not come down in accordance to world trends and that is not right."
Last month's dramatic drop in fuel prices came in response to countries in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, who control 45% of the world's oil production, drastically increasing oil pumping to run North American shale oil producers out of business.
The OPEC literally flooded the market with oil to drive the world price down, which consequently affected Australian prices.
But according to Mr Hughes, petroleum retail price in Australia does not solely rely on world trends but is also driven by major supermarket corporations.
"In Australia the pricing is not only controlled by world trends, but also by the two major supermarkets Coles and Woolworths," Mr Hughes said. "Whatever they price petrol at, most other stations follow suit and they are certainly pricing higher than the product needs to be.
"The major supermarkets deserve all the criticisms that can be heaped upon them by the public. The regional markets were very severely damaged by the unfair pricing of petroleum last month."
The taxi industry has been severely affected by the fluctuating petrol costs with government forcing a standardised pricing on fare calculators yearly that does not make allowances for rising fuel costs.
Maclean and Yamba Taxi Services operator Noel Cowling said the recent reprieve was certainly welcomed by taxis.
"The recent drop in fuel prices gave us a nice short term relief but it didn't last long," Mr Cowling said.
"We've got a fixed rate that we work to as to what we can charge that is set by the government, but that is only adjusted every 12 months.
"Having the fuel price go up cuts into your operating costs. It really does the taxi industry a disservice."
Hogan hopeful for fuel
DESPITE growing concerns over the dramatic rise in the cost of unleaded fuel, the Member for Page Kevin Hogan denies that it is a major issue for his constituents.
The Member for Page has said that despite the recent rise the regional centre is doing quite well when compared to metropolitan centres such as Sydney and Brisbane, and that Grafton averages have seen a drop since before Christmas time.
"Petrol prices in Grafton today are 12 cents cheaper per litre than in Sydney," Hogan said. "The average price in Grafton today is $1.23 a litre compared with $1.35 in Sydney."
"Petrol prices in Grafton have fallen 30 cents per litre over the past few months from over $1.53 to $1.23."
"This is great for cost of living pressures making it about $20 per week cheaper to fill your tank than six months ago for the average motorist."
The federal backbencher has said that lower costs of fuel along with the government's decision to abolish the carbon tax have led to cost of living pressures easing in the Clarence Valley.
"The decrease in fuel costs since Christmas combined with the abolition of the carbon tax which is saving families around $550 per year on Treasury's estimate.
What you said on Facebook:
Hellen Brugnatti: 15 cent jump in a couple of days!! Ridiculous! Lots of people rely on cars to get around. And having a child in a wheelchair I heavily rely on my car to take the children to school and sports, it was a relief when prices went down and I was even able to see my sick nan in another town a bit easier because of the cheaper fuel prices, but then they jumped right on up again.
Doc Bolch: Heaps I travel 120km a day for work, if it keeps going I won't be able to afford to work.
Tricia Collins Milne: They are usually the difference in the standard of eating in a household ... especially when you're on a shoestring budget ...
Dale BC Magick: Well, $1.34 is better than the $1.67 I paid last year but I'd prefer the $1.14 I paid last month to still be about. Honestly, we all knew it wouldn't last long.
Allison Anderson: We drove to Sydney a couple of weeks ago on $50 , it was great a little bit extra $$$ in the pocket to do something else, now looks like back to square 1 no more little luxuries.
Helen Blackburn: Thumbs down to petrol prices going up over twenty cents in 12 hours.