AACS: STATEMENT ON PETROL
“The price of petrol is largely determined by external factors, not least the amount of tax applied by the Australian Government. Then there are other macroeconomic factors and external pricing cycles that come into play.
“We support transparency when it comes to pricing of fuel and bodies like the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Institute of Petroleum provide regularly updated petrol pricing information.
“It’s important for consumers to understand the external factors that impact the price they pay at the pump.
“From the retail perspective, petrol is a very low margin product for service stations. This is why owners must provide a broader strategic offer of other products and services to ensure the viability and success of their stores.
“Before retailers make any margin on petrol, there are transport costs, marketing and administration costs, and operational costs like wages, rent and utilities to cover. These have increased significantly in recent years, particularly energy costs, which especially affect those service stations which trade 24 hours a day.
“We encourage a competitive environment for retailers and manufacturers, small and large, and will continue to work with the ACCC and other relevant bodies to promote transparency in petrol pricing.”
For any details about petrol pricing these reputable, up to date third party sources will assist:
- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- The Australian Institute of Petroleum
- Caltex FAQs
- BP Australia pricing information
AACS: ON PETROL THEFT
Petrol theft: costing convenience stores plenty
Petrol theft is a crime which costs the convenience industry approximately $55million annually [AACS 2015 Ste of the industry Report’].
- Petrol is a very low margin product and its theft comes straight off the bottom line for retailers.
- On average store owners lose around $185 a week from petrol theft.
- In the context of small businesses, this is a very significant sum.
Store owners, employees and public at risk
- Petrol theft is a crime which not only affects service station employers and employees, it has significant safety implications to the general public.
- When motorists steal petrol, they speed off in a reckless fashion. This could have disastrous ramifications for the public, other road users and customers on the service station forecourt. It’s only a matter of time before tragedy strikes.
- As petrol theft crimes increase, so do other offences. Number plate theft is an obvious example, while retailers also report that spikes in petrol theft mirror increases in armed robberies and thefts of other products, including tobacco.
- The potential for small business owners and employees to be victims of violent crime is real and growing in line with increases in petrol theft.
A crime is a crime
- The Geelong Magistrates Court, in a landmark 2013 ruling, stated that a “criminal act is a criminal act” in relation to petrol theft, paving the way for a service station retailer to pursue known thieves through VicRoads.
- It’s critical that Governments across the country recognise that stealing petrol is a crime and that offenders must be punished accordingly.
- Presently store owners are forced to take matters into their own hands and do the job of the police where, ideally, they should be free to focus on ensuring the success of their business.
- Too often reports of petrol thefts have not been followed up, or have even gone unanswered, meaning there has been effectively no investigation into catching the thieves responsible.
- Ideally, police will have the resources and direction to pursue petrol thieves to the full extent of the law, and the courts will have the power to enforce severe penalties that reflect the serious nature of the crime.
- The penalties for petrol theft are currently inconsistent and inadequate. In the vast majority of cases, the thieves simply get away with it scot-free.
- Criminals who steal petrol are not only likely to get away with their crime, they are also likely to re-offend as a result, and there are numerous links between fuel drive offs and other crimes.
What can be done?
- Potential solutions to crack down on petrol theft include licence demerit point, licence suspensions for repeat offenders and heavy fines.
- The Victorian Government Parliamentary Inquiry into Fuel Drive Offs represented a genuine opportunity to effect real change.
- However ideally a national solution is required to crack down on this crime and support retailers.
- Crimestoppers could play a part in combatting petrol theft at the local level. A central 1800 number for reporting of petrol theft would be a useful addition as well.
- Stores could potentially assist police through improving and coordinating reporting processes, use of CCTV footage and notifying police when known or suspected offenders visit their stores.
Pre-paid petrol: punishing retailers and honest customers
- Mandatory pre-paid petrol systems, where customers estimate the fuel they require and pay before they fill up, is a common misguided solution from those outside the retail industry.
- It is not a viable option for most small businesses and is unsuitable as a blanket solution. It will directly jeopardise the viability of some stores.
- Such systems would reduce impulse sales, a critically important area for small businesses.
- They also jeopardise customer convenience, a key competitive advantage for these stores. Convenience is the key point of difference for our industry.
- People might underestimate or overestimate how much petrol they need. They may have to return to the store, which is inconvenient, takes more time and increases congestion, further diminishing the customer’s experience.
- The cost associated with converting pumps to pre-paid would be enormous. This expense would come at the individual retailer’s expense.
- It is not appropriate for people and authorities whose expertise lies elsewhere than the retail environment to dictate retail solutions, and it is wrong to inconvenience the vast majority of customers who do the right thing.
Contact AACS CEO Jeff Rogut at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.