Pouring money into fuel pumps
THE RACQ has called the high prices of petrol in Emerald and Blackwater - two of the highest in the state - "outrageous” as new figures were released this week.
RACQ spokesperson Lucinda Ross urged drivers to only support the service stations selling the lowest cost petrol in an attempt to drive prices down.
Ms Ross, who said driving competition was the best way to reduce prices, said Emerald had the dearest fuel prices in Central Queensland.
Queensland's peak motoring body has revealed motorists in Emerald paid 14 cents per litre (cpl) more at the bowser than those in other Central Queensland cities last month.
RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said indicative retail margins in Emerald were also high at 14.6cpl and Blackwater's was the highest in Queensland at 17.7cpl.
Ms Ross said it was really frustrating for drivers in Emerald and Blackwater.
"We clearly don't have the level of competition that we need and that we're seeing in other areas,” she said.
"You look at further west at Longreach and they're selling for less.
"We're urging drivers that if they're out in other areas such as Rockhampton, Biloela, and Gladstone, to fill up as you're going to save 10-20 centres per litre.
"Give the business selling the lowest price your support,” she said. "That's the only way to take some of the power back.
"The service station owners need to be making sure they're charging at a fair price but can we rely on them to do that? No.”
Ms Ross said consumers could use apps and websites to search for better deals and shun the services charging the highest prices.
"More often than not it's the smaller chains and independents that charge the lower prices.
"They might be mum and dad businesses making sure they can make enough money to survive but there's others taking advantage of the situation.
Chamber of Commerce president Victor Cominos said the issue of fuel costs was not new, however, he believed an inquiry into high costs could be one way to tackle the problem.
He said most of the fuel came from Gladstone into Emerald and an inquiry could investigate the costs involved.
"There should be an inquiry into how much it costs to get the fuel into Emerald,” he said. "We need to know the refinery price of fuel, and once we know that we can start looking at what it costs at the different service stations.
"I've heard that fuel in Longreach is cheaper than Emerald, but it must cost more to get it there.”
Mr Cominos said people were heavily affected in Emerald because "everything relies on transport”.
Central Highlands Development Corporation general manager Sandra Hobbs said the high fuel prices also impacted the sustainability of businesses in the region, travellers and tourism in the area.
"It's an additional concern and has an impact on business planning.
"It means the bottom line is higher and it impacts on what people are quoting and charging for with their services.”
Fuel price report
Emerald 157.6cpl for unleaded petrol