Cairns drivers have been hit with the highest petrol prices in Australia, a new report has found.
According a petrol market study released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) the average net profit of petrol stations in Cairns was around 38% higher than anywhere else in Australia in 2015-16.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the market report confirms that motorists are paying too much for fuel.
“Competition in the Cairns fuel market is weak and unfortunately it is consumers who are paying for this at the bowser,” he said.
“While weak competition sees higher prices for consumers, of itself this does not reflect any breach of competition or consumer laws.”
The report found that between 2012-13, the petrol prices in Cairns were significantly higher than those of the five largest Australian cities.
“The report found that the main reasons for the higher prices in Cairns were higher retail profit margins on petrol, higher wholesale prices, and higher retail operating costs per litre,” Mr Sims said.
“Compared with historical retail margins and profits, and those of similar sized towns, retail margins and profits in Cairns are currently very high.”
The report states that the Cairns market lacks effective competitors.
Mr Sims said it would take three steps to engage a more competitive price market in Cairns: petrol price transparency; a report on petrol pricing and retail margins, new competitively priced petrol retailers entering the market.
Mr Sims said that for now, motorists in Cairns can use petrol price websites and apps to determine the best time to fill up on petrol.
“The availability of this petrol price data may also have the effect of promoting competition between retailers,” he said.