24 Oct 2018

Petrol price 'pain' prompts Australian fuel boycott

4:16 pm on 24 October 2018

In Australia, more than 160,000 people say they will participate in a day-long boycott of service stations in protest at rising petrol prices.

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Australians are paying about 50 cents a litre less for fuel than New Zealanders, but they say the price is too high. Photo: RNZ/ Rebekah Parsons-King

There is also an online petition lobbying the Federal Government to ditch some of its taxes on fuel.

The organiser of the boycott, Sabrina Lamont, said Queensland motorists were paying the equivalent of $NZ1.78.

She believed the price, which is at a record high, should be much lower.

But the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association chief executive Mark McKenzie said current prices were fair.

In New Zealand, prices are about 50 cents a litre higher than across the ditch.

Mr McKenzie said the increase in the cost of fuel over the past year was due to a 44 percent increase in crude oil, a 12 percent devaluation in the Australian dollar, and a small increase in fuel retailing costs.

"Around 45 percent of the cost of fuel relates to overseas factors, such as the cost of crude oil and the international refining price while a further 45 percent is Australian Government taxes."

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said 46 percent of the cost was determined by the international price of Mogas 95, 39 percent by taxes and 15 percent by other costs and margins.

Ms Lamont said she believed fuel was "one of the most overtaxed products in Australia".

"There are people losing their jobs, businesses [are] selling trucks and letting workers go. Parents are not taking their children to school [because of the price of fuel]," she said.

"They are breaking the country's back with this."

She is calling on people to boycott service stations on 26 October.

"We are asking the whole nation not to enter a service station, a total boycott, whether independents or a major brand," the Bundaberg woman said.

"Just do not buy fuel."

Mr McKenzie said a strike made "no sense".

"Punishing Australian fuel retailers, most of whom are small family businesses, for increases that are the responsibility of international companies makes no sense whatsoever."

Royal Automobile Club of Queensland spokesperson Lucinda Ross said a one-day strike would not work, even if it happened nationally.

"Boycotting for one day of the year won't do anything to lower the price of fuel," she said.

Motorists were "feeling the pain" of the current fuel prices, Ms Ross said.

While Ms Ross believed they were paying too much, she said Ms Lamont's suggestion of $AUS1.15 per litre would be unreasonable.

She recommended drivers monitor the price cycle and take advantage of when the fuel price was at its lowest point.

Ms Lamont said there might be further action in the coming months after feedback from fed-up motorists across the country that "one day isn't enough".


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