Kyra Jeffcoat, of Churchill, fills up at Kangaroo Fuels in Leichhardt.
Kyra Jeffcoat, of Churchill, fills up at Kangaroo Fuels in Leichhardt. David Nielsen

Drivers fume as fuel pushes $1.50

IPSWICH residents are set to face unleaded fuel prices above the $1.50 mark soon as the wholesale cost of petrol continues to rise.

Unleaded has been between $1.45 and $1.49 this week at most Ipswich service stations, but motoring body the RACQ says retailers shouldn't cop the blame.

They said recent instability in North Africa and the Middle East meant the wholesale price of petrol had gone up, and if it wasn't for the strong Aussie dollar, motorists could be paying even more.

Several service station attendants told The Queensland Times that they are feeling the frustrations of drivers, with many customers angry about the high prices.

Speaking at the petrol bowsers, Churchill resident Kathryn Stevens, 27, said it was a tough extra burden on Ipswich families, especially those recovering from January's floods.

“It's hard to believe. People are already struggling to pay for food and other things,” she said.

“People are saying they have to stay at home because they can't afford to go out.”

Philip Kamp, of Rosewood, said for motorists like him there was nothing else to do but fuel up at the higher rate.

“It's ridiculous, but what can you do? We need it don't we,” Mr Kamp said.

“Everyone is saying the same thing – it's overpriced.”

RACQ communications manager Joe Fitzgerald said the recent spike in oil prices had been caused by uncertainties about supply due to the political unrest in Libya.

Mr Fitzgerald said motorists could ease the petrol price pain by filling up when they saw a good price, and not just when they were close to empty, as that could force buyers to take the closest option regardless of cost.

He said the traditional cheap days were continuing to change, but at the moment Friday and Saturday mornings were good times to fuel up.

Peter Meehan, owner of independent retailer Kangaroo Fuels in Leichhardt, said he expected petrol prices to pass $1.50 before they went back down again.

“Definitely, it could go to $1.54 or $1.55. We can't do anything about it – it's the wholesale price and we can't affect that,” Mr Meehan said. “People just have to watch the news to see the price of petrol is rising.”

The average Australian price of unleaded petrol rose by 2.9 cents a litre to 139.2 cents a litre in the week to March 6.

At the Bowser

IPSWICH motorists paid an average of 10 cents a litre more for unleaded petrol in 2010 than they did the previous year, according to an RACQ report.

The motoring body's 2010 Annual Fuel Price Report shows Ipswich prices for standard unleaded averaged 128 cents per litre – one cent per litre higher than the state average.

Diesel also came in at 128 cents per litre, but was only 0.4 above the state average and 6.3 cents a litre more than the 2009 average for the city.

Brisbane was only just cheaper in 2010, coming in at 127.7 cents per litre, while Toowoomba petrol stations charged 3.4 cents per litre less than Ipswich for unleaded.



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