Page 2426 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2022

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It is interesting; on any given day I can almost guarantee you that the cheapest fuel in Canberra will be around the airport precinct. Because of Costco’s business model, its fuel is always cheaper there, and it is always cheaper in some of the adjacent areas to the south, in Fyshwick. Fuel is the most expensive, it would seem, the further west you go. So the further away from the discount retailers, the more expensive it is. There are the occasional outliers. Some of them are found in Tuggeranong, in your electorate, Mr Assistant Speaker Davis.

We do see a very consistent pattern that where there are independent retailers in the market or independently owned stations there are some price differences. I note that the information is available and that that trend has not really changed, in fact, for decades. It is available on Petrol Spy and MotorMouth. But, as I say, I have no concerns about there being another app; it is just that you should not pay over the odds for it. It does not take long to figure out where the consistently cheapest petrol is in the ACT. Motorists obviously make an assessment about the amount of fuel it would cost to drive to that point and whether filling up at that lower price would justify the time and expense of making the journey to the cheapest fuel outlet.

One company, as I have mentioned, provides petrol as part of an overall wholesale offering. You take out a membership and, clearly, you get a discount. I do note that, in response to increased demand and some of the work of the standing committee and the government, that particular outlet significantly expanded the number of pumps available, to reduce queues. I know many people do their weekly shop at that outlet and get fuel at the same time. It is a very sensible and practical use of time and a way to save money.

As I have indicated, in light of a recent trend, in the last few weeks, of the average price in Canberra being higher than the national metropolitan average, I have again written to retailers, reminding them of their pricing policy obligations to the community and the existing powers available to the government if this unexplained divergence continues. This of course is particularly important as we recognise that the temporary reduction in the fuel excise tax is due to expire next month.

My amendment, I think, also points to an opportunity to in fact save even more, potentially, and that is if the commonwealth government were to adopt the Euro VI fuel standards and emissions standards for new vehicles. I know this is something that Minister Steel has pursued. It is a very effective way to reduce fuel costs. The reality of the situation under the former commonwealth government, and their refusal to move on this, meant that manufacturers were treating Australia as a dumping ground for the least efficient internal combustion engine vehicles in the world. So a fuel or emissions standard would open Australian markets to much more efficient vehicles at a cheaper price.

As has been outlined in recent times, the ACT government has put in place a range of policies and initiatives to support more Canberra households to transition to zero emissions vehicles and to never again have to use Petrol Spy, or another app, in order to find out where the cheapest fuel is because they will be able to power their vehicles in a much more cost-effective way, using electricity. I agree with Mr Cain that it will be some time before even the majority of the vehicles on the road are EVs. But I suspect it might be quicker than many of the sceptics and cynics think.

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