While the fuel industry acknowledges that the September quarter saw a return to healthy profit margins, the latest claims that the fuel industry by the ACCC that the industry is price gouging motorists are rejected out of hand – and such commentary is considered to be generally outside the remit of the ACCC.
In responding to the ACCC’s September Quarterly on the Australian Petroleum, Australasian Petroleum Marketers Association CEO Mark McKenzie acknowledged that the current discussion is part of the annual conversation on fuel prices that occurs in the lead up to the Christmas Break every year.
“Our industry accepts that people don’t like paying more than they have to for their fuel but it also needs to be acknowledged that current retail fuel prices are actually well below the dizzy heights they reached a few years ago”, said Mark.
“We believe that some of the apparent hysteria surrounding this latest ACCC Report is unjustified and much of the current commentary fails to acknowledge that gross profit margins vary markedly – with some fuel retailers still receiving an average of just 3cpl”, said Mark
“As far as we understand it, the ACCC’s role is to ensure that competition in the market is effective as this is the best defence against high fuel prices”, said Mark
“Over the last 8 years, the ACCC has undertaken numerous in-depth studies our industry and has not found any substantial issues with respect to the competitive conduct of market participants – and this latest report is no different”, said Mark
“These fuel price discussions are cyclical and this current period of healthy margins follows a number of years of some of the lowest retail margins in history, as evidenced by ACCC Fuel industry reports prepared over the last 3 years”, said Mark.
“Fuel retail businesses are like any other retail business – good operators will charge the highest practical price that the market will bear and that retail competition will permit, in order to ensure the long term sustainability of their business”, said Mark
“Therefore the focus of the ACCC should rightly be on whether the competitive fabric of our industry is sound as this is the best mechanism for ensuring that fuel prices remain reasonable into the future”, said Mark.
The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association is the peak industry association representing the interests of petroleum distribution, petroleum wholesaling and petroleum retailing businesses in Australia.
Mark McKenzie (CEO, ACAPMA)