FUEL COSTS: Rubyvale business owner Barry Sloan said retail fuel prices in Emerald were “highway robbery”.
FUEL COSTS: Rubyvale business owner Barry Sloan said retail fuel prices in Emerald were “highway robbery”.

‘Highway robbery’: Emerald fuel prices defy downward trend

EMERALD drivers are yet to reap lower fuel prices from a global drop in demand, despite other Central Queensland retailers passing savings to consumers.

At the moment, unleaded petrol in Emerald is 133.9 cents a litre, 42 cents more than in Blackwater. Diesel is 135.9 cents a litre.

Sloans Livestock and Machinery owner Barry Sloan called the retail fuel prices "highway robbery".

"They're abnormally high around Emerald compared to everywhere else," he said.

"I bought fuel [diesel] today at home, delivered to my place, for 96 cents a litre. [The retailers] are making a 50 per cent profit."

Mr Sloan said he spent nearly $20,000 on fuel while on the road last month.

Lake Maraboon Holiday Village owner John Walsh is selling petrol for 99.9 cents and diesel for $1.15 a litre.

"They're ripping everybody off," he said about the prices in town. "They're gouging it."

"That's a total rip off and there's no excuse."

Mr Walsh said his prices were profitable by "about two or three cents" a litre.

"That's nearly cost price," he said. "We're going to keep the fuel forever and a day at that price."

"The locals have given us that much support it's incredible. In these times, you look after the locals."

Emerald Chamber of Commerce president Victor Cominos said fuel prices were a long-standing problem in town.

"This was an issue which was discussed at an Emerald Chamber of Commerce meeting as far back as 25 years ago," he said.

"It's been an issue for a long, long time. The fuel that comes into the area comes by the Port of Gladstone. Why is there a difference in price?

"Somebody is manipulating the system, so questions have to be asked. There should be an inquiry into the service station industry in Emerald."

In Blackwater, petrol was 91.9 and diesel 137.9 cents as of Tuesday, May 5.

RACQ's Renee Smith was pleased to see petrol prices in Blackwater drop, but said "unfortunately this hasn't happened in Emerald.

"This price is substantially higher than we would expect given the falls in the oil price in the recent months," Ms Smith said.

"We would like to see prices in Emerald below 100 cents per litre and are calling on fuel companies to lower their prices."

In March, Ms Smith said retail prices should reflect wholesale prices within six weeks of any change.


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