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Price-gouging petrol stations ‘playing with fire’

The nation's top competition cop has indicated a plan to regulate petrol prices to combat "outrageous profiteering" in "this time of crisis".

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims told The Daily Telegraph he had never seen, until now, an 80c-a-litre difference between the most expensive and cheapest fuel in Sydney.

Mr Sims named and shamed chains such as Seven-11 and Coles Express, saying they were "playing with fire" by charging much more than other companies for petrol despite a massive drop in world oil prices.

Apprentice carpenter Brandon Charlton fills up at BP Rushcutters Bay on Monday which was the state’s most expensive. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Apprentice carpenter Brandon Charlton fills up at BP Rushcutters Bay on Monday which was the state’s most expensive. Picture: Justin Lloyd

"They should consider how the government might respond in the extreme," Mr Sims said.

"You can't keep behaving as badly as this and not expect ­consequences."

Asked what he meant by consequences, Mr Sims said "price controls".

"This is unprecedented and it's appalling at this time of crisis that we get people that are trying to price gouge," he said.

Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP) figures show the difference between the retail and wholesale price is more than 35c/L, compared to a two-year average of less than 14c/L.

The gap between the retail and wholesale price appears to be the widest on record.

Private industry data shows 132 Sydney service stations were charging 147.9c/L or more for E10 yesterday.

Of those, 41 were Seven-11s and 33 were Coles Express. The highest price was BP Edgecliff, charging 168.9c/L.

At that servo, apprentice carpenter Brandon Charlton said he supported the regulation of fuel prices. "Eighty cents difference is insane," he said.

Originally published as Price-gouging petrol stations 'playing with fire'



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