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Canberra motorists unite on Facebook to push down petrol prices

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Canberra motorists tired of being ripped off at the petrol bowser have united on Facebook to push back against fuel companies who fail to pass on lower oil prices to their customers.

More than 23,000 people have engaged with the ACT Fuel Watch Facebook page which has attracted more than 8000 likes since it was created on Sunday afternoon.

The page was prompted by similar initiatives in other communities which had banded together in a bid to drive down the price of fuel, Ben, one of the four page administrators, said.

"We are being held to ransom because they aren't changing the prices not because they can't but because they won't," he said.

"I've seen other [areas] take community action and not quite make it but we are the capital and we've got a vibrant social presence so let's give that a crack.

"[The page] is for the benefit of the community; a lot of single mums, stay home parents, people in lower socioeconomic areas are saying 'it's fantastic… you're saving us a lot of money'."


He said newcomer Costco adjusted prices marginally as oil prices dropped, the Woolworths Caltex at Majura matches the discount outlet until it closes, but fuel retailers elsewhere in the capital wouldn't budge without a push.

The page admins have no affiliations with petrol companies or phone apps but are calling on motorists to submit photos of fuel prices across the capital, share their findings on independent fuel watch phone app "Petrol Spy" and support cheaper outlets.

And already Ben believes it's making an impact, with petrol aaveraging about four cents per litre cheaper than when the page launched.

"We're not looking for credit for any of this, but our endeavour was to get people to shop at the better value locations and therefore force the other guys' hands into adjusting and that's what has happened," he said.

The cheapest unleaded petrol in Canberra was 116.7 cents per litre at Woolworths Majura and the average price was 127.8 cents per litre as of 7:30am on Thursday, down on the same time Wednesday when the cheapest fuel was 119.7 cents per litre at Costco and the average was 129.8 cents per litre.

Ben said northside fuel retailers were the most expensive, but if the community supported more affordably-priced petrol stations it would drive the price down.

"The average fuel price on the northside is still well above 132 cents per litre… [but] it's fallen to well under that on the southside," he said.

"In the Fyshwick precinct alone the average price there would be $1.25 or $1.26."

Ben said motorists had started bypassing more expensive petrol stations in other suburbs in favour of Majura.

"We've had thousands of messages from people saying we will now mostly support Costco and avoid Caltex especially because they're bumping the price up after Costco shuts," he said.

"We haven't suggested anyone boycotting anything at this stage… but the community has made their own mind up."

Ben said the page had the full support of the local NRMA and while similar initiatives in other areas such as the Southern Highlands had not been successful he was more confident about Canberra.

"Stations somewhat removed from the epicentres have to drop their fuel to be attractive in the first place," he said.

"In Canberra the furthest drive is 15mins so people are now seeing there if there's a $20 saving they will make the trip."