Motorists face a $15 increase on the 60-liter gas tank

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has warned gasoline retailers as the government prepares to raise gasoline prices by 22 cents a liter at the end of September for “misleading or anti-competitive conduct.”

As motorists prepare for the reintroduction of the full fuel excise duty on September 29 after a six-month postponement, Dr Chalmers has warned consumer watchdog the ACCC that it will “step up its activities”.

The warning confirms, as expected, that there will be no extension of the fuel tax relief that was introduced in March when prices soared to an all-time high of 216.5 cents a liter in Sydney and 212.5 cents in Melbourne.

“I have instructed the ACCC to step up its surveillance of the fuel markets to help ensure Australian motorists get a fair deal on the Bowser,” the Treasurer said.

“Refineries, importers, wholesalers and retailers should heed the warning: The ACCC is keeping a very close eye on fuel prices across the country to make sure any increase is justifiable.”

The government’s 44-cent excise tax on fuel was cut in half in the last budget before the election, saving motorists 22 cents per liter of diesel and unleaded fuel.

The excise tax reduction saved motorists approximately $15 when filling a 60-liter tank of unleaded fuel.

At a cost of around $3 billion, the 22-cent cut in taxes per liter of gasoline for six months was hailed as an economic relief as voters went to the polls.

“What we sought to do in the Budget was to protect Australians against higher world oil prices,” former Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in March.

“One of the hallmarks of our economic response in this pandemic is that we have always designed it carefully.

“You don’t spend money forever.”

But after signaling it would not be extended, Liberal Leader Peter Dutton is now calling on the Labor government to do more to help Australians deal with rising costs, including fuel.

“Households are facing rising energy bills and their plan to address this is in disarray,” Dutton said last month.

“Will your government add to the pressure on household budgets by not extending excise tax relief? Why is Labor making a bad situation worse?

Now that the relief is coming to an end, the Treasurer said the consumer watchdog would be monitoring evidence of misleading or anti-competitive conduct by fuel retailers and wholesalers.

The ACCC will also “analyze daily retail price data after full excise tax reinstatement” and access more frequent daily gasoline and diesel retail price data in all capital cities and more than 190 regional locations.

Dr Chalmers has written to fuel companies, outlining expectations in relation to passing on increases, including warning companies about misleading Australian consumers about the justification for any price increases.

The consumer watchdog will also be tasked with “intensifying communication with consumers about prices, including the best times to shop in your location based on gas price cycle information.”

“There should be no question that if there is evidence of misleading or anti-competitive conduct by fuel retailers, the ACCC will take action,” said Dr. Chalmers.

In his letter, the Treasurer notes that “the ACCC will play a key role in ensuring that market participants do not take advantage of the expiration of

the reduction of the tax on fuel consumption to penalize consumers”.

The ACCC is also scheduled to release its quarterly report on automotive gasoline, diesel and LPG retail prices for the June 2022 quarter on Monday.

Meanwhile, Anthony Albanese’s post-election honeymoon continues, with support for the Coalition falling to record lows.

After a fortnight of controversy over Scott Morrison’s secret ministerial takeover, popular support for the Coalition continues to fall.

An exclusive Newspoll made for the australian reveals that the Coalition’s primary vote has plummeted another two points to just 31 percent.

The result reflects a five-point drop from the May election result and is the lowest since 2008, after Kevin Rudd won the 2007 election.

The Labor primary vote remains unchanged at 37 per cent, but the preferred lead of the two parties is now 57 to 43 when a drop in support for the Coalition in the primary is taken into account.

The prime minister’s lead as preferred prime minister also increased two points to 61 per cent compared to Peter Dutton at just 22 per cent.

Labor won the May election with a two-party preference result of 52.1 percent.

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