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Consumer Watch: Remember there are ways to save money amid soaring fuel prices

Candice EvansGeraldton Guardian
WA Motorists can save money at the bowser by using the free FuelWatch service to compare prices to find the best deal.
Camera IconWA Motorists can save money at the bowser by using the free FuelWatch service to compare prices to find the best deal. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

With fuel prices recently hitting record-highs, it’s a particularly important time for consumers to have the information they need to save money at the bowser.

International fuel prices have continued to increase recently due to a number of factors, including the war between Russia and Ukraine fanning fears of disruption to energy supplies in Europe, as well as the global supply of crude oil and refined fuel not meeting the world’s rising demand for fuel.

It is important to realise that neither the State nor Federal Governments control fuel prices, which fluctuate for a number of reasons, including changes to international benchmark prices, the value of the Australian dollar to the US dollar, local competition and the daily pricing decisions made by wholesalers and retailers.

WA motorists can save money at the bowser by using our free FuelWatch service to compare prices to find the best deal.

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The savings can be significant in regional WA, particularly when travelling. Fuel prices do vary between regional areas, as well as within towns, it is worthwhile spending just 30 seconds on the website before you fill up to find the cheapest fuel in your area and on your travels.

More than 80 per cent of regional service stations are covered by FuelWatch. By law, these service stations are required to notify FuelWatch of their following day’s prices by 2pm each day and must lock in these prices for 24 hours from 6am, meaning WA motorists are free from the frustrating intra-day price fluctuations that those in other Australian States still experience.

In turn, this price transparency and certainty helps to put downward competitive pressure on prices. Motorists should know they can put further pressure on fuel retailers by using the price information to buy from the cheaper retailers.

The FuelWatch team also works behind the scenes to ensure fuel retailers comply with their legal obligations, and responds to complaints and reports of non-compliance, which can result in fines or even prosecution.

Check out the new website at any time at: www.fuelwatch.wa.gov.au

Candice Evans is senior regional officer for Consumer Protection in the Mid West and Murchison

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