The 13-cents-a-litre ‘rip off’ at Warwick pumps

WARWICK motorists are getting "ripped off" at the bowser - paying on average 13 cents per litre more for unleaded petrol than metropolitan drivers did in January.

The RACQ has called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to take action after the ACCC identified an increasing price gap between regional areas and capital cities in a report released on Thursday.

The ACCC report on petrol prices in 2014 showed the regional and metropolitan price gap ballooned as 2014 ended.

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said while there had been a 27-cent drop in Warwick petrol prices in 2014's second half, it was not enough.

"Warwick has been traditionally a cheap place to buy fuel, but at the moment it's not," she said.

"January was the big month for petrol prices and regional motorists are up in arms, justifiably, that they were getting ripped off."

She said despite the fall last year, Warwick drivers were still paying 13 cents more than capital city drivers in January.

The ACCC quarterly report said regional prices are "generally higher" due to less competition, less fuel being sold, distance factors and a lower convenience store sales.

"Furthermore, price movements in regional locations generally lag behind movements in the five largest cities. This is partly due to a lower volume of sales in these locations, and hence slower replenishment of fuel stocks by wholesalers and retailers," the report said.

Ms Smith said the ACCC needed to act on the price discrepancies it had identified.

"We're calling on the ACCC to take action on this now. They've identified this in their report - what are they going to do about it?"

Federal Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said he had requested the ACCC look into regional fuel markets.

"Separate to this quarterly report, I have also asked the ACCC to conduct specific regional market studies to seek to explain both the size of the unusual price differentials, as well as the slowness in reducing regional fuel prices as the international price falls," he said.

Similarly the Australian Automobile Association acting chief executive officer James Goodwin said regional fuel prices need to be investigated.

"We look forward to the ACCC announcing the location of its first study into regional markets, which should provide a clearer indication of why regional fuel prices have not declined to the same extent as prices in cities," he said.

What makes up petrol prices?

The ACCC identified three factors making up unleaded petrol prices.

The international price: 53%

The GST and fuel excise: 35%

Margin and other costs: 12%

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