Fuel prices soar
By Ed Southorn
You think petrol costs too much?
Spare a thought for Holden Statesman owner Bob Corban of South Tweed.
His 1984 de Ville Series II model has a 95-litre capacity fuel tank. On current petrol prices, Bob has to spend around $107 to fill 'er up.
Mr Corban's V8 motor won't take unleaded fuel, and with lead replacement petrol being phased out, he uses Ultima brand high-grade petrol costing up to $1.19 a litre.
Every time he fills his tank, Mr Corban has to spend more than $5 on top of his massive fuel bill to pay for a special lubricant needed to protect his engine.
With petrol prices rising inexorably, Mr Corban yesterday called on federal and state governments to phase out fuel excise.
He reckons politicians promised taxpayers the GST would mean fuel excise could be abolished, but "they treat us like idiots".
Even though the Gold Coast/NSW border region offers some of the cheapest petrol in Australia, thanks to competitive pricing and tax concessions, local petrol prices this week are above $1 a litre and expected to rise further.
Motorists yesterday morning were asked to pay between 96 cents a litre at Tweed Heads and $1.09 a litre at Miami. As the day wore on, prices went up.
Bob Corban's wife Trish said the high cost of petrol made their weekly living budget very tight.
But her retired veterans pensioner husband doesn't want to give up the Statesman - he likes the comfort and safety of such a large car.
"There is an easy way out of this, just drop the excise, that would bring the price way down," Mr Corban said.
Unleaded fuel could hit $1.30 by the end of the year if global demand for oil continues at current levels, according to Westpac economist Jonathan Cavenagh.
Assuming the Australian dollar declines to around 72 US cents by the end of the year, Mr Cavenagh said a spike in oil prices to $US65 a barrel would lead to bowser prices of $1.30 a litre.
"In the current climate of strong global demand, particularly in the US and China, and with supply struggling to keep up, crude oil could easily be trading at $US65 a barrel at the end of the year.
"That would be equivalent to an extra $14 per week in household spending."
Victorian motorists group RACV spokesman David Cumming yesterday accused petrol retailers of "pure greed".
He said about 200 Victorian petrol stations had raised the price of unleaded fuel to a record high of 119.9 cents on Wednesday.
"It was pure greed to go to 119.9c, we had a 3-cents- a-litre rise in wholesale fuel prices, but that fuel hasn't even been delivered yet," he said.
"There is another two cents a litre (wholesale) rise coming next week, which will put the wholesale price at 110 cents, which could mean prices of up to 120.9 or 121.9 by next weekend."