Spike in LPG prices sparks investigation

FIRST it was petrol, now it is LPG that local motorists are paying through the neck for.

Berry resident Gael Hordern contacted the South Coast Register on Monday shortly after a story was published that revealed Nowra was second highest on the list for the state’s average fuel price at $1.59.9.

Ms Hordern raised serious concerns over the price of LPG, saying in her township the fuel, which was usually in the 80 cent range jumped to over $1 a litre.

As late as Thursday LPG in Berry was priced a $102.9.

“I usually pay around 86.9 cents a litre and it was the same in Nowra at the Woolworths there,” she said.

“Then out of the blue in Berry it jumped to over a dollar.

“That’s a pretty big jump.

“While further up the road in Wollongong I was getting LPG for between 62 and 63.9.

“You end up having to drive the extra 20km to Nowra or 30km to Kiama to try to find cheaper prices.”

Ms Hordern said she drives a Nissan Patrol 4.2l four-wheel-drive, and often transports horses and other animals.

“We are filling up our tank twice a week and have certainly noticed the jump in price,” she said.

“We have also noticed there is a shortage of supply.”

She said it appeared very convenient that a lot of the major fuel chains seemed to be shutting down their stations at the one time for refurbishment.

“We have no alternative but to pay the higher prices – we all need fuel of some sort,” she said.

“Of all the Woolworths and Coles around the only ones I could find open at one stage was one at Warilla and another at Corrimal.”

Ms Hordern, who also lived through the 1970s and ’80s when there were fuel strikes and shortages, said this and the price of other fuels could have a real impact on the country.

“During the petrol strikes we could only get fuel on odd and even days,” she said.

“It shut the country down.

“And it could happen again.

“This could be a national emergency.

“This is a national security matter.

“Someone is getting some big profits and the motorists are paying for it.”

NRMA director for the South Coast and ACT Alan Evans said LPG was a dying market but such a jump in price was something the organisation would be investigating.

“We don’t really monitor LPG, it is a dying trade, operators are going out of business and falling over like nine pins all over the place,” he said.

“But this certainly seems excessive and we will investigate it.

“At the moment we monitor petrol and diesel prices but this indicates it may be time to look into LPG as well.”

In an article on the NRMA Facebook page it stated the NRMA average LPG prices in Sydney should rise to 97 cents per litre this week due to the December contract price or global LPG rising 16.6 cents per litre.

Senior manager of Service Station Association MTA, Colin Long said there are significant shortages of LPG due to distributors Cootes Transport trucks being off the road.

“There are some reports of shortages of LPG due to distribution trucks being off the road, but LPG has also gone up in recent days apparently due to a demand situation out of Singapore,” he said.

“It’s the first time it has jumped so much in a long time.

“Prices on all fuel do seem to rise at this time of the year and that puts pressure on small independent stations and their customers.” 

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