September 23, 2021 | 11:07 AM

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27.05.2008How to stop fuel costs guzzling your cash

The fuel cycle is a strategy used by oil companies to increase their profits. They know people are more likely to buy fuel near a weekend or on payday so they hike prices.

The most effective way to lobby for cheaper fuel prices, says Fites to do what people do already in southeast Queensland. “Shop when the fuel is at the best price and that is typically Tuesday but anywhere in that band between Monday evening through to early Wednesday.”

There’s a proportion of people that don’t worry because they’re carrying a company or a government fuel card. But for the rest, it pays to plan ahead. Two thirds of the fuel sold in Brisbane each week is sold on Monday or Tuesday. “Most motorists are smart enough to know when they should buy their fuel.” Raynor says that two cents per litre doesn’t sound a lot but it saves WA consumers about $30 million each year. The biggest impact of FuelWatch is that it transfers oil company profits to consumer pockets, he says. However independent petrol retailers such as Liberty and APCO say they already transfer profits directly to consumers. In South East Queensland over recent weeks, freeway service stations listed prices well over $1.40 whereas 200 metres from the freeway Liberty’s price was $1.25 per litre.

APCO Service Stations say they try to maintain as fair a price as competition allows, and to keep prices from fluctuating where possible.

Supermarket petrol is cheaper in many centres because they’re trying to build up a loyalty to attract shoppers, and they make money from the non-fuel sales.

But APCO says that none of us knows now if we are paying too much for petrol, groceries or liquor. The company believes consumers pay more for all three to cover the cost of the discount docket. It says the government should end the 38 cents per litre (CPL) excise on every fuel purchase, onto which is added a 13cpl in GST. This would be a tax reduction that does not distinguish between rich and poor, the group says.

Australia’s fuel price is benchmarked to the spot price of the Singapore Mogas 95 unleaded, the regional market for fuel. Global oil markets are influenced heavily by the OPEC member countries that determine supply, and prices.

The weak US currency, in which oil exports are usually priced, is placing upward pressure on prices now at record highs. However, this has been negated slightly by rise in the value of the Australian dollar.

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