Monday, November 30, 2020

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Home Issue 24 Use your dollar to force fuel prices down: Murray Stewart

Use your dollar to force fuel prices down: Murray Stewart

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Consumers are best placed to bring down fuel prices, says Murray Stewart, sports promoter, former Town Council member and an outspoken local.

 

He’s encouraging motorists to fill up, for the next four days, at Puma fuel depot at 12 Dalgety Road, Braitling, which he says “has consistently the lowest prices for both unleaded and diesel.

 

“Over the last two weeks, even though they can and must do better, it is this outlet to which we should give our short term loyalty in order to bring about a fair price correction,” says Mr Stewart.

 

He dismisses the recent claim by Chief Minister Michael Gunner who said if fuel companies didn’t bring down their prices he would be doing it for them.

 

“It OK for the Chief Minister to puff out his chest, but unlike the Chief Minister of the ACT Mr Gunner hasn’t set a date for action yet.

 

“He’s made a headline grabbing statement but where has he been since?”

 

In any case, consumer campaigns may well work better, because they can achieve even lower prices than those set by governments.

 

Mr Stewart says: “The current differential, between the terminal gate price and the pump price, is at an unacceptable 26 to 32 cents per litre in Alice Springs.

 

“According to the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, who are the national leaders in real fuel price research, the differential should be at least half of that.

 

“I do not buy the argument that these companies give to charities so let’s leave them alone!

 

“Under that principle, why not charge $2 per litre, wow then there would be lots of money to go around for everyone.

 

“It is simply not charitable to rip off the town’s consumers and other businesses,” says Mr Stewart, who heads up the Alice Springs Consumer Action Group.

 

He is encouraging people to make a small sacrifice toward a “very very” big gain: “I’m even asking you to forgo any loyalty systems which are encouraging people to shop at large multi national companies, at the expense of small local businesses.”

 

 

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. Well diesel is around $1.13 in Melbourne and $1 for petrol. So Alice prices probably aren’t too bad.

  2. As a small business person with income reduced to zero by the hiatus in tourism, I suggest that there may be another factor to consider as well as price differential.
    Because of the reduction of travel generally, and tourism travel in particularly, fuel outlet sales have no doubt plummeted.
    And, like most businesses, their fixed costs are still there. Rent, insurance, staff, etc still have to be paid with less income, so some increase in profit differential may be justified.

  3. Thanks for the tip. I didn’t realise there was a Puma up that end of town. I only thought there was the one in Railway Terrace.

  4. Now I like Murray, I think he is a very inspirational person, but on this case, I think he has it wrong and is very shortsighted.
    Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t his recommended station a self serve station so has no employees. Is that what we want other businesses to aspire to?
    Sack the employees and just have automated terminals? How is that going to help town?
    Now let’s just say the average person uses 50 litres of fuel per week and boycotts peoples employment to save say 4c a litre for a total saving of $2 a week. Is it worth it?
    Is it worth peoples’ employment?
    I wonder how Murray would feel if the same scrutiny was put on his employment or business and it was boycotted to save around $30 a week as it can be done?
    For the record, I do not recommend this as I know many small businesses are on different playing fields with vastly different costs and services.
    What I do recommend is try and look a bit deeper, and see where the money does go.
    Does the money stay in town?
    Do they employ many locals?
    Is it a small business that is providing some level of competition and is struggling or is it a corporate giant? etc.
    Just because it is cheaper, doesn’t always mean better in the long run.

  5. @ Chris: The Puma Dalgety road does have employees.
    Yes, the pumps are self serve and the office doesn’t sell chocolate bars and soft drinks, but that doesn’t mean that there are no employees working there and no operational costs.
    In fact that particular depot is responsible for quite a bit more than providing fuel to the average punter. So your comment is incorrect.

  6. @ Kristal: As I said, I am happy to stand corrected on that part not being familiar with that site and hearing it second hand.
    But you have just gone on to prove my point, there are many reasons why prices are the way they are, and the level of service and service options can vary drastically.
    But if everyone goes for the cheapest option, and keeps forcing the prices down by boycotting, then you reap what you sow.
    One example would be pricing the smaller competition out of the market.
    Once they are crushed, then the giants can really make us hurt.
    Have you tried flying out of Alice Springs lately?
    You only need to look at the dairy industry. Giants kept screwing farmers until the point that they had to sell up.
    Now have a good look at which country owns a lot of Australia’s dairy farms.
    Similar things can happen in Murray’s industry too, if people continually push prices and boycott businesses just because someone can do it cheaper, then maybe he won’t have enough money to spend in town and support other businesses, maybe he won’t be able to pay rent etc. leaving further holes in town.
    I also think people should stop demonising petrol stations also. Sure, some are corporate giants that don’t care, but others are small local businesses.
    They are not the only businesses that may have had to increase margins to survive the virus situation.

  7. While this story touches on a good point I can’t help but feel this was a paid endorsement of some kind, especially during the current election cycle.
    The NT Government since 2017 have had the MyFuel NT website, accessible by phone and PC, which is updated daily to reflect the local fuel prices of any town within the NT, and for whatever type of fuel you are after. It is extremely user friendly.
    The depo named in this article, whilst it may have the cheapest diesel on certain days, it is not the case with any of the other fuel types they carry, and is certainly by no means the cheapest in town, as can clearly be evidenced on the MyFuel NT website!
    The article should have at least mentioned this taxpayer funded tool that has been in existence since 2017, designed especially for the points this article is trying to raise.
    Again this seems a bit off during an election cycle to omit such important, relevant and useful information!

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