Jeff Barnes, of Newrybar, says larger suppliers get the Queensland Government’s fuel subsidy, but are not passing it on with cheaper prices to Northern Rivers motorists.
Jeff Barnes, of Newrybar, says larger suppliers get the Queensland Government’s fuel subsidy, but are not passing it on with cheaper prices to Northern Rivers motorists.

Refining the petrol price debate

MATCH me, you know you can.

That is the fuel price challenge thrown down to the big operators by small independent operator Jeff Barnes.

With unleaded fuel at his Independent Newrybar station priced at 99.9 cents a litre yesterday, Mr Barnes' prices often are lower than the major service stations.

He readily dumped on the higher fuel prices of his Northern Rivers competitors, claiming that because they bought tens of thousands of more litres in bulk than he did, they should be able to sell it at least five cents a litre less than his price.

Mr Barnes purchases around 8000 litres at a time and said larger operators would buy in 30,000 to 40,000 litres.

“We buy it through Queensland (refineries) so we get the Queensland Government's fuel subsidy, so why are they not passing it on with cheaper prices?” he said.

“If they were fair dinkum and genuine, like me, they would pass it on to their customers with cheaper prices.

“They are making a killing.

“Some service station retailers have increased their margins and not passed on the full benefit.

“I'm working on the same margin as five years ago, and I reckon the major retailers should be able to sell unleaded petrol for around 90 cents a litre.”

Mr Barnes had seen the invoices and said operators, like him, were buying at the prices of five years ago.

After he ditched his fuel price board when prices soared into three digits, Mr Barnes spent a few hours dragging it back out of overgrown lantana bushes then brushed the dirt off to put it back into use.

With some Caltex stations out of ethanol mix and premium unleaded petrol yesterday, it is expected to be another week before supplies get back to normal.

Caltex spokeswoman Georgie Wells said there had been a further technical problem over the weekend at the Caltex refinery at Lytton in Brisbane that supplies the Northern Rivers.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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