A Fyshwick service station rebranded as Metro Petroleum four months ago has put sustained pressure on ACT petrol prices, fuel watchers say.
Its E10 unleaded price on Thursday was 116.7¢ a litre, a cent higher than Costco's lowest price but at least 6¢ cheaper than other outlets throughout Canberra.
NRMA director for the ACT Kate Lundy said average unleaded petrol prices in the ACT had dropped in the past few months – from 144¢ a litre in May to their current average of 129¢ a litre.
"This is great news for motorists and there's no doubt the introduction of the Metro independent service station at Fyshwick about four months ago has helped increase competition in the market, just like the opening of Costco in December as well as the Metro at Queanbeyan."
According to NRMA's pricing lists, on Wednesday early afternoon the ACT's 129.1¢-a-litre average was cheaper than Yass' 134.3¢, Goulburn's 128.6¢ and Cooma's 133.1¢.
Gungahlin motorist Phil Pettit says he comes to Fyshwick's Metro to save 10-12¢ a litre on premium unleaded petrol. Another regular customer since the opening, a young P-plate driver from Queanbeyan, reckons he is regularly saving $25 on fuel. He says there are often queues of motorists.
"They are making a killing," he said.
A Lake Macquarie man visiting his daughter who has a business in Fyshwick says he fills up each time he comes to the ACT.
Metro did not return Canberra Times calls. According to its website, which does not include its Barrier Street location, Metro was established in 1995. On a website, Metro owners John and Norman Dibb say they bought brought the assets and business of Hill & Co, a major Mobil Oil regional fuel distribution business in 2004, in Canberra and southern NSW.
Ms Lundy said Metro had 57 sites in Sydney and consistently provided the lowest petrol prices of the branded independent stations and offered petrol about a third of the price offered by the majors. "They're a low-cost operator, they're great for competition and hopefully, they continue to expand," she said.
ACT Fuel Watch spokesman Benjamin Ling says although no longer maintaining a Facebook page, Fuel Watch's website, with the help of PetrolSpy, was keeping people informed of price fluctuations.
Mr Ling said Metro had made a difference in Canberra. "They have definitely provided some additional competition in the market, basically by way of a selection to go and shop there.
"When they opened, we provided a lot of support and publicity to make sure people were aware there was an independent retailer selling at that discounted level. We all thought Costco was the answer but they bumped the prices up as soon as their membership tallied up, so we are really disappointed with that. But they are still retailing fuel at otherwise lower rates, it is just a shame you have to travel there to get it and be a member [of Costco]."