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New fuel price sign regulations give motorists a fair go

2 September 2013
Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts has announced the enforcement of new fuel price signage standards across NSW.
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"Motorists will no longer be confused about the real cost of fuel as they approach a service station," Mr Roberts said.

"The mandatory standards will improve transparency in the industry, increase competition and enable consumers to accurately compare fuel prices at different retailers.

“The new fuel price information standard requires NSW service stations to display the real price of fuel, free of any discounts or special offers.

"The days of service stations enticing customers by prominently advertising the discounted price for regular unleaded petrol that only holders of shopper docket vouchers were entitled to are over."

Under the new regulations petrol retailers’ signage must:

  • Display the undiscounted price of all fuels when a service station sells up to four fuels.
  • Display the undiscounted price of at least four fuels where a service station sells more than four fuels. This must include LPG and diesel if they are sold, together with the service station’s top selling fuels. By doing this, motorists can easily compare high demand fuel prices in their suburb, town, or city.
  • Display at the petrol pump the octane ratings for E10, regular and premium unleaded petrol.

Mr Roberts said in many cases a service station would only need to add one more type of fuel to its signage to comply with the new standards.

"A 2012 survey by NSW Fair Trading of 1300 people found 90 per cent of drivers wanted fuel prices displayed by service stations to be free of any special terms and conditions that apply to discounted fuel.

"Another 60 per cent believed they had been misled at some point over the price they paid for fuel, based on retailers’ signage.

NRMA Motoring & Services President Wendy Machin said compulsory price board regulations were a huge win for the NRMA and its members.

"We fought hard on behalf of our Members to ensure more transparency and better information about petrol prices so that motorists could make the right choice when it came to filling up," Ms Machin said.

“Our research found too many motorists were caught out by price boards that didn’t display prices for popular fuels or included discounts from shopper dockets.

"We're pleased the Minister for Fair Trading listened to the NRMA’s concerns and NSW is now leading the way as the first State to introduce these changes."

Senior Manager of the Service Station Association, Colin Long, said his members supported the new price board regulation as it would make petrol retailing more competitive in NSW and remove much of the confusion.

"As customers drive down the street, under the new price board regime, they can be confident that they are comparing apples with apples," Mr Long said.

"Under the pre 1 September arrangement, large supermarket petrol outlets, amongst others, could highlight a discounted price or display a multiple of offers, which made it very confusing for motorists to compare fuel retail prices."

Mr Roberts said the Government announced the new standards in August 2012, with service stations given a year to comply before the new rules would be enforced.

"The market has had more than 12 months to work towards compliance.

"I have also repeatedly said that a range of simple, temporary signboards would also comply while permanent signage is sourced," Mr Roberts said.

"Service station representatives have been informed every step of the way about what is required and when.

"Fuel stations that are not compliant with the new regulations will face fines of up to $110,000 for a corporation and $22,000 for an individual. On the spot fines (penalty infringement notices) of $550 also apply.

"Fair Trading inspectors will be out in force ensuring all fuel prices displayed are undiscounted and that NSW motorists are getting a fair deal."

For more information visit the Fair Trading website.

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