Tanya Easterby

Good old days are over on fuel

THE good days are over for Gympie drivers accustomed to cheap fuel and a competitive market.

Although an RACQ report says Gympie now has Queensland's cheapest diesel, price consultant Geoff Trotter says our prices are merely the best of a bad lot.

And unleaded petrol prices are midrange compared to the rest of Queensland, but much higher than we are used to.

"South-east Queensland used to have the cheapest fuel in Australia."

But no more. Mr Trotter says the good days ended for Gympie with the takeover of Matilda by Puma Energy.

Puma's move to becoming Australia's largest independent fuel company, by buying up several major independent chains, has made it a major player and no longer a source of price competition.

"They paid $625 million for all these independent service stations and they have to get that money back."

"Matilda used to set prices for Gympie but they are now following Coles and Woolworths. 7-Eleven is the only independent outlet left and the only reason fuel is cheaper at the Sunshine Coast than Gympie is they have more 7-Eleven outlets."

Retail fuel price margins for Gympie are almost double what they were, he says.

"While a few years ago average margins were 6c a litre, now they are regularly 12c.

"Retail diesel used to have a 9c mark-up, but now it is regularly 15c. We put it down to Coles and Woolworths controlling the market.

"People are kidding themselves if they think they are getting a discount for buying groceries. Every market in Australia is impacted, except Adelaide, where the independent chain, On the Run has 76 service stations," he said.

Gympie Times

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