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Costco set for fourth petrol station, ACCC spotlight on petrol price rorts

With Costco to open its fourth petrol station and first in Canberra next to its Majura Park store, some Canberra petrol retailers may be set for a major shock, including a Woolworths-operated Caltex petrol station a few hundred metres from the Costco site.

Costco, which is a major petrol retailer in the United States, now operates two petrol stations in Sydney and one in Brisbane.

While their interstate stores offer fuel between 10¢ and 20¢ a litre cheaper than rival petrol stations, the deal is only available only to Costco members, who pay an annual fee of $60, The Canberra Times said.

Costco Wholesale Australia managing director Patrick Noone said that the station was under construction and was expected to be pumping by Christmas.

NRMA’s regional director for the ACT, Alan Evans, said a new petrol retailer would be welcome news.

“Sydney and Melbourne have a lot of independents giving them competition and what our research shows is where you’ve got independents or someone to compete with the two big chains, you get lower prices,” he said.

According to a report on News.com on September 23, the nation’s consumer regulator will, from 2015, be able to better investigate fuel rorts, including LPG prices.

The annual ACCC retrospective, or review, which has been produced each December since 2008, will be replaced by more frequent investigative reports.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims aid the “more regular, consumer-friendly” reports would “shine a bloody great spotlight” on suspected rorts and wherever possible “quantify how much extra people are paying”.

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