The current differential for fuel, between the terminal gate price and the pump price, is at an unacceptable 26 to 32 cents per litre in Alice Springs, says outspoken local Murray Stewart (pictured). He is calling to support what he describes as the outlet with most consistently the lowest price in town. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Further details are coming to light about the high cost of automotive fuel in Alice Springs although the industry is still refusing to answer questions.
The informant mentioned in our report posted last week bought diesel on August 3 for about $1.53 a litre from an Alice Springs wholesaler.
According to FUELtrac the Terminal Gate Price (TPG) on that day in Adelaide was an average (across all companies) of $1.34.
The TPG is usually for full tanker loads (of at least 35,000 litres) for product paid cash on delivery (COD).
Transport to Alice Springs is believed to be 7 to 9 cents a litre. Assuming it's 8 cents, that gives the wholesaler a margin of 11 cents a litre – three cents more than the retailer is getting. That's a mark-up of $3850 for the 35,000 litres, of course delivered in bulk.
The Alice Springs News Online has asked the wholesaler for a comment. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The Alice Springs News Online has received information from a fuel retailer which seems to contradict assertions that it are the service stations which are ripping off the public.
UPDATE Friday Aug 3 at 11:30am
Alice Springs fuel retailers are continuing to line their pockets with record margins, showing no concerns for the public by failing to pass on available savings.
This is the view of Edon Bell, the General Manager of the Automobile Association of the NT which has more than 20,000 members.
POSTED Thursday Aug 2 at 11:46am
A self drive tourist visiting Alice Springs is outraged that he was charged in Alice Springs double what he is used to pay in Adelaide for LPG Autogas. He wrote to the Alice Springs News Online and we passed his concerns to the town council, the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Central Australia. It seems they couldn't care less. ERWIN CHLANDA comments.
When it comes to the exorbitant fuel prices in Central Australia it's not about the bottom line but about the top line – namely the yellow one in the two graphs above.
It shows what you are paying at the pump compared to the Terminal Gate Price (TGP, mauve line) and the Singapore Parity price (blue line).
And the gap is what the dealers are pocketing.
In the last three months that margin grew massively: the TGP dropped significantly but the dealers hardly adjusted their prices, so that the margin, per liter, is now around 40c.
That's around five times the average around Australia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Photo above: Map of bushfires in Central Australia earlier this week. Bottom: Peter Latz, native grasses in the left of the photo; thick buffel on the other side of the fence.
Massive rains last year boosting exceptional plant growth made it inevitable that 2011 would be a major year for bushfires – but authorities are still gearing up to cope with them.
The fire west of Alice Springs is still burning out of control, but no longer in the immediate vicinity of the town.
Matt Braitling, from Mt Doreen Station, the chairman of Bushfire NT's regional council, says the fire fighting effort had to focus on protecting assets, including Aboriginal outstations at Bond Springs and the Golden Mile just west of the town, either side of Larapinta Drive leading to the West MacDonnell Ranges.
Meanwhile according to one of Central Australia's most eminent wildfire experts, botanist Peter Latz, the massive blaze last week burning right up to the western edge of Alice Springs is no surprise but came a bit earlier than expected.
The author of Bush Fires & Bush Tucker and The Flaming Desert says the fire will probably protect the town from a much worse one later in the year.
Dr Latz says the ferocity of the fire was caused mostly by buffel grass, introduced as a dust suppressant by the CSIRO decades ago, and now covering much of Central Australia.
While trees mostly survive the "cooler" flames of native grass, many were destroyed, including trees in the West MacDonnell national park: "Where there is thick buffel under the mulgas they are dead." ERWIN CHLANDA reports.