City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler has raised the possibility of Council purchasing its own service station, in a bid to help reduce petrol prices for Kalgoorlie-Boulder residents.
Mr Bowler said the continued intransigency of local fuel suppliers in maintaining abnormally high fuel prices compared to market value has led to his call.
“City staff will be investigating the possibility of the City being involved in a fuel station, after the community has put up with months of abnormally large margins between Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the metro area,” Mayor Bowler said.
“In recent decades, the margin between Perth and Kalgoorlie for fuel prices has been around 10 to 15 cents per litre, whereas now it has ballooned out to anywhere between 25 and 35 cents per litre. Yesterday, the cheapest price in Perth was 96.7cents, with an average price of 103 cents for regular unleaded. At the same time in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, it’s ranging from 121.9 cents in Wilson Street to an average of 123.9 cents around town.
“I’ve been advised by a local cartage contractor that it costs 6 cents per litre to transport fuel from Perth, plus another 2 cents per litre for local handling. Even when you allow an extra margin of profit, it shows local motorists are paying a high price. The only consolation is that with Kalgoorlie-Boulder being so compact, we do use a lot less driving around than Perth residents.
“If this comes off, it would see local residents getting cheaper fuel and Council making a good return on investment from an initiative that benefits the whole community.
“I don’t normally consider local government to be an area that should be competing with local enterprise, but when the free market isn’t working with local competition, then maybe it’s time to do something out of the ordinary.
“If everyone finds out where the cheapest fuel is, and only goes there, it will force competition, but if you’re lazy and just go anywhere, what incentive to the service stations have to change?”