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The great petrol rip-off: Drivers should ‘shop around more’ as prices soar, ACCC says

The chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has urged drivers feeling the pinch of the soaring cost of fuel to to shop around.

There were reports premium fuel hit $1.90 per litre over the weekend.

There are new estimates today that drivers are being slugged $1.2 billion dollars a year more for petrol than three years ago, according to a report in The Australian.

The ACCC says Australian motorists are still paying at least two-cents per litre more than they should be for petrol.

ACCC chair Rod Sims told Neil Mitchell there were three different kinds of rip-offs hurting consumers.

The main issue is the overseas cost of crude oil, and the oil-producing nations controlling the supply of fuel.

He said the ACCC is powerless when it comes to international factors and price gouging, but the way fuel is taxed is complicated and confusing.

“You’ve got to say why are we paying a fuel excise of 41 cents on top of the GST? And the complication there Neil is it’s there to fund the roads that governments build but the link is so poor, you know have no idea whether this level of taxation is the right one or not,” he said.

“Then you’ve got the fact that in our view, margins are 2-3 cents a litre too high, that’s 4-600 million, that’s a lot of money for Australians.”

He said it was as important as ever for drivers to “shop around a bit more”.

Neil: Is the message here we are stuck in this situation?

Mr Sims: I think we are in the early days of getting motorists to find the cheapest source of petrol. Don’t worry about buying off independents, and a little bit of timing.

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Photo: AAP