As the ACT Government’s inquiry into fuel pricing continues, new survey results suggest high prices are driving ACT motorists to cross the border to fill their tanks.
Released on Tuesday 30 April, the survey of 1,158 NRMA Members in the ACT and surrounding NSW towns found just under half (47%) have driven outside the ACT to fill up and 20% always do this.
The research also found that fuel has had a significant impact on 37% of household budgets.
Canberra is consistently the second-highest capital city in Australia when it comes to petrol prices. Over the last 12 months, the average price of regular unleaded in Canberra was 150.7 cents per litre – 10.7 cents higher than Sydney.
The survey showed 70% supported the ACT Government taking action to address exorbitant fuel prices in the ACT. A further 67% support the ACT Government encouraging independent service stations to enter the ACT market.
The NRMA made a number of recommendations in its submission to the ACT Government’s fuel inquiry. In it, the organisation called on the ACT Government to replicate the petrol reforms introduced in NSW in 2016 (FuelCheck) and to also provide incentives to independent service stations to enter the local market.
NRMA local director Kate Lundy said residents of the ACT would look to the Government to take meaningful action to address fuel prices in the ACT once the inquiry ended.
“It is unacceptable that petrol prices in Canberra are consistently and stubbornly higher than regional towns across NSW that are a fraction of the size,” Ms Lundy said.
Canberra Liberals Leader Alistair Coe said it is “just ridiculous that almost half of the ACT drivers surveyed are filling up across the border because they can’t get a good deal at home”.
He said the results support the Liberals’ commitment to a real-time fuel monitoring system.
“There are other initiatives that can put downward pressure on fuel prices and I look forward to the (Select) Committee’s recommendations,” Mr Coe said.
The inquiry into fuel pricing is ongoing. A public hearing was held on 30 April with additional hearings scheduled for 8-9 May. The Select Committee on Fuel Pricing is required to report to the Legislative Assembly by Thursday 6 June.