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Australia’s national consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commisson(ACCC) has confirmed something most motorists probably already knew, petrol retailers are leading fuel prices higher, and it’s particularly laid the blame on supermarket discounter, Coles Express.

In a statement released tonight the ACCC said consumers should shop around in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide as Coles Express are leading petrol prices higher as the petrol pricing cycle peaks.

In these cities, petrol prices tend to cycle over seven days. Prices are often the lowest on a Wednesday morning and highest on a Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

“Analysis of petrol pricing in a 9 a.m. ‘snapshot’ today shows that Coles Express sites have set the highest prices in the four capital cities,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Petrol Commissioner, Mr Pat Walker, warned. “Today in all four eastern capitals Coles Express was setting the highest prices at a significant number of its sites, which is consistent with a recent trend.

Fuel pump

“There are often a range of retail prices for unleaded petrol charged by service stations in these cities. On any given day the range from the lowest available retail price to the highest is usually between 15 to 20 cents per litre.

“Consumer must look carefully at price boards to check the competition in their area before topping up their tanks.

“It is important that consumers do not automatically rely on their petrol discount voucher to necessarily deliver the lowest price,” Mr Walker said. “In these cases, loyal shoppers redeeming their voucher at the highest priced sites are paying much more than they need to.”