Drivers wanting the cheapest servo in town will have an early Christmas present – the ability to compare fuel prices across the city instantly at the touch of button.
The announcement of new real-time fuel price monitoring software comes as motorists were charged record prices across Brisbane on Thursday.
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said Queensland software company Informed Sources was selected to develop a system to collect and distribute petrol prices to fuel price app and web developers, as part of a two-year trial beginning in December.
“With fuel prices hitting a four-year high in the past couple of weeks, our fuel price reporting trial is on schedule to put informed buying power into motorists’ hands before Christmas,” he said.
The software will capture fuel prices from all Queensland service stations and provide it free to existing smartphone apps and websites, such as MotorMouth, GasBuddy, Petrol Spy, RACQ and Compare the Market.
Dr Lynham said “mistakes were made” in other jurisdictions when they tried to introduced a government-run app.
“With a government-based app going head-to-head with private companies, going head-to-head against innovation,” he said.
All retailers will be required to provide their prices within 30 minutes of the price changing at the bowser.
If service stations do not provide their data, they could be fined up to $3000.
However, Dr Lynham said the solution to sky-high fuel prices lay in the hands of the federal government.
“Over a third of what we are all paying at the bowser is going to the Morrison government in tax, with fuel excise at 41.2 cents a litre,” he said.
At $1.67 a litre, Brisbane recorded its highest daily average on Thursday for regular unleaded petrol, with prices expected to continue to rise.
RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross global factors played a role but Brisbane motorists were still being ripped off more than drivers in other major capital cities.
“Global oil prices and the low Aussie dollar are driving the high prices, but fuel companies in Brisbane are still enjoying the highest indicative retail margins across the large capitals and it’s just not fair,” she said.
Earlier this year, opposition leader Deb Frecklington originally called for real-time monitoring of fuel prices and said the LNP would introduce the measure if it won the 2020 state election.
In response, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had no plans to roll out a real-time fuel pricing app or website and urged the national consumer watchdog to take the lead on the issue, before the government later announced a two-year trial.
Dr Lynham said the LNP’s proposal was for an app which would have cost the state government $20 million a year, while Labor’s plan would cost “one-fifth to one-quarter of the LNP’s proposal”.
He said the system could not be in place earlier because it was important it was rolled out properly and did not create extra red tape for independent fuel retailers.
Ms Frecklington said the state government had “dithered” with the timing of the technology’s rollout.
“I first suggested this at the beginning of the year,” she said.
Extracted from The Sydney Morning Herald