Misleading fuel prices on advertising boards at service stations have been banned in the ACT. Discounters are now only able to show the true pump price, not one that requires a shopper docket or in-store purchase.
Amendments to the Fair Trading (Fuel Prices) Act came into force on Monday, and service stations that fail to comply could face fines of up to $16,200.
Discount prices advertised to woo motorists into filling up through in-store incentives and frequent shopper rewards have been common since Australia's big two supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, entered the retail fuel market more than a decade ago.
The "what you see is what you pay" regulations have been in force in Queensland for more than a year.
Woolworths has leveraged its shopper rewards program while Coles has been using the in-store purchase incentive.
While both incentives may still operate, advertising the incentivised price is prohibited. Only the pump price available to all customers can be displayed.
"Service station retailers will need to ensure that from today their fuel price boards are kept up-to-date so that they never display a price less than the price at the pump," ACT Consumer Affairs Minister Shane Rattenbury said.
The government's move to make petrol prices more transparent comes after a select committee was formed in February to examine fuel prices in the ACT. The committee handed down its interim report on May 30.
Several hundred submissions were received, with nine possible recommendations under consideration, including the need to requirement for fuel companies to lock down fuel pricing for 24 hours, with mandatory reporting.
The committee's chair, Labor's Tara Cheyne, said the ACT fuel market was not "meeting consumer expectations" and there was ample evidence Canberra fuel prices were consistently higher than in Sydney and nearby regional areas of NSW.
The committee is due to hand down its final recommendations on September 17.
However, Motor Trades Association ACT president Michael Burke believes the window of opportunity for the government to have any significant effect on pump pricing has well and truly closed.
"While it's commendable that the government is all for transparency of fuel pricing, what's not as transparent are the high costs associated with doing business in the ACT," Mr Burke said.
"Rates and regulatory costs for small businesses are almost prohibitive so it's little wonder that almost every fuel station in the ACT is owned, part-owned or leased by one of the major oil companies.
"There is a particular reason why Costco set up its highly successful operation at Majura, and it's highly unlikely it would set up another fuel retail outlet anywhere else in Canberra without some significant incentives provided by the ACT government.
"While the final outcome of the fuel price inquiry is yet to be handed down, the reality is that the government has very few levers it can pull to change the manipulation of fuel pricing by oil companies in Canberra."
To check compliance with new fuel price board requirements and increase consumer confidence, Access Canberra will undertake checks at service stations across the ACT.
Canberra motorists who notice any discrepancies between an advertised price on a fuel board and the price at the pump are urged to report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
Motorists are encouraged to do some research before filling up using online tools such as Motor Mouth and Petrol Spy.
The new rules won't apply to those fuel discounters that require membership, such as Costco.