MOTORISTS are being hit with the highest January prices for petrol since 2004 – and economists warn that the pain at the bowser will get even worse.
In the first week of January, Australian Institute of Petroleum figures show that motorists in Victoria and Western Australia were enjoying the cheapest average petrol cost per litre – $1.55 – while drivers in the Northern Territory were being slugged with a whopping $1.74 per litre.
Tasmania was the next most expensive place to fill up the tank, with an average of $1.62 per litre, followed by Queensland on $1.60 per litre and New South Wales and South Australia, both on a $1.58 average price per litre.
Prices were higher than the state average in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and particularly in Brisbane, where motorists were paying 1.7 cents per litre above the state average.
Outlining his priorities for this year, the ACCC boss said he would continue to pursue large penalties against big companies for breaching consumer laws, was preparing for a series of significant merger decisions, and was closely monitoring petrol prices.
PETROL DISCOUNT LIMIT
Mr Sims said the deal with Coles and Woolworths to limit shopper docket petrol prices to a maximum of 4¢ per litre should start to have an impact this month.
“It comes into effect on 31st December and people can still run off the discounts they already have. But I would see early in the new year you will start to see the effect,” Mr Sims said.
In addition, the major investigation into the two big supermarket chains and their suppliers, which could result in enforcement action, would be completed by March.
It reflects very poorly on Joe Hockey that he didn’t pick up the phone to advise Mr Sims that the government had no confidence in his interpretation of the law and then appoint a new head of the ACCC who would maintain the competitive rivalry between Coles and Woolworths.