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HOBART’S average unleaded petrol price has climbed by about 4c in the past 10 days, while the wholesale price paid by importers has fallen by 7c .

RACT spokesman Vince Taskunas said any further rises above yesterday’s average of about 164c a litre would be a travesty, given that:

THE Singapore wholesale price had been sinking steadily, from a July 15 peak of $141c to below $129c, according to Australian Institute of Petroleum figures.

ULP prices which yesterday varied between 162.7c and 166c in Hobart were too high for many Tasmanians to afford.

The ULP price has climbed about 10c in the past two weeks and more than 20c in the past year.

Prices in other parts of Tasmania have been even higher.

Mr Taskunas said the rapid rises had been particularly harsh on premium fuel users, but not so painful for diesel buyers.

Premium 95 petrol yesterday averaged 173.7c a litre, down from a 174.3c peak on Wednesday, while Premium 98 has sat just under 180c since Wednesday.

Average diesel prices have risen more slowly, about 1.5c in the past week, and remain below unleaded petrol at 161.6c.

Mr Taskunas said the continuation of such high prices was costing many Tasmanians as much $10 a week in unavoidable fuel bills.

“That’s $40 extra a month, and nothing else has gone down. With higher power bills and winter heating, it’s hurting people,” he said.

Mr Taskunas said fuel price rises typically occurred sooner and a lot more rapidly compared with price reductions and a repeat of such a scenario would be grossly unfair on Tasmanians, particularly pensioners and low-income families.

He said the perennial price gap between Tasmania and other interstate capitals had narrowed during the surge in global wholesale prices.

“That’s often the case when the price goes up, it does narrow” he said.

Commsec experts believe prices will continue rising nationally by as much as 3c in the next two weeks and said the pain had been amplified by the rate of the climb the fastest increase since 2009 of about 16c in two months.

Australian Industry Group chief economist Julie Toth said fuel price rises directly impacted on business transport costs and made consumers more wary of spending on luxury items.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this week scrapped the $330,000-a-year Petrol Commissioner position, which he had implemented in 2008.

The price squeeze is expected to increase the use of shopper dockets.

Sourced from The Mercury

By Scott Evans

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