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Petrol 

FuelCheck  

FuelCheck is a free online tool providing NSW motorists with real-time information on fuel prices.

FuelCheck helps find the cheapest fuel, whether in your local area or in any suburb or town in NSW. You can also search for the closest and cheapest offering of any particular fuel type, such as E10.

For more information on FuelCheck, visit the Frequently asked questions page.

Misleading discount fuel schemes 

Discount fuel schemes offer cash rebates at the time of purchase of fuel, or at a later date. Some schemes require membership, while others require the consumer to meet certain terms and conditions to be eligible for the reduce price.

NSW Fair Trading is currently investigating misleading and deceptive fuel discount schemes at NSW petrol outlets and service stations. If you consider that you have been misled by unreasonable or undisclosed conditions attached to a fuel discount offer that made it impossible for you to get the advertised discount, we would like you to report your experience to Fair Trading. Our investigations usually rely on people who witnessed illegal conduct helping us by providing a written statement and then attending Court. For that reason, we are not accepting anonymous information.

Report misleading petrol advertising

To report misleading or deceptive discount fuel schemes, please lodge a complaint.

Please note we are not investigating the price of fuel or changes in the price of fuel.

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Fuel quality 

The quality of automotive fuel in Australia is regulated by the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 (the Act) that places an obligation on the fuel industry, including fuel suppliers, to supply you with fuel that meets strict environmental requirements.

For more information on fuel quality standards see the fuel quality pages on the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website.

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Ethanol blend petrol 

Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, is a clear liquid fermented from sugar or other crops, such as grain. It can be used directly as a fuel or blended with gasoline.

Since 1 July 2003, the level of ethanol in petrol has been capped at 10 percent, under the Commonwealth Fuel Quality Standards Act.

At the wholesale level, the minimum ethanol content requirement for the total volume of petrol sold in NSW is 6%. This is prescribed in the Biofuel Act 2007.

For further information, go to the Biofuels frequently asked questions page on the Fair Trading website.

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Water in petrol 

Water is present in most storage tanks at service stations. However, as petrol is lighter than water, the petrol will float on top in the storage tanks. The tanks and pumping system are designed to take the petrol from the top of the tank. Therefore, the water does not enter individual motor vehicle petrol tanks. Normally, fuel companies will test whether water is in the petrol. If a company refuses to do this, consumers concerned about possible water in fuel should contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20 for further information.

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Adulterated fuel 

Adulterated fuel is a petroleum product such as petrol and diesel that has been added to or manufactured using other hydrocarbon products such as heating oil or white spirit. Adulterated fuel can cause considerable problems and damage to engines resulting in costly repairs.

There are also significant safety concerns. Adulterated fuel often has a lower flash point than the normal product and it therefore may be very dangerous.

Consumers who believe they have purchased adulterated fuel should:

  • complain to the manager of the service station
  • complain to the oil company head office.

If you are not satisfied with the response a complaint can be lodged with Fair Trading.

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities will also investigate complaints involving adulterated petroleum products under the Australian Government's Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. You can make a complaint online to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities or call 1800 803 772.

Consumer claims for damage caused by adulterated fuel may be determined by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) under the Consumer Claims Act. Orders may be made to the value of $30,000 and can include payment of money, rectification of a defect and replacement of goods. Please refer to the NCAT for further information.

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Prices 

The price of petrol is not directly regulated in Australia but is determined by market forces. The Commonwealth Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (previously the Trade Practices Act 1974) prohibits anti-competitive behaviour, such as price fixing, by any industry. Members of the public with any information on petrol price fixing are urged to contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) by calling 1300 302 502 or by email at petrol.monitoring@accc.gov.au

On 20 April 2012, the Minister for Fair Trading wrote to the Commissioner for Fair Trading requesting that he conduct a review into the price differential between E10 ethanol blended fuel and premium unleaded 95 fuel at a wholesale and retail level. In letters to key industry stakeholders, the Commissioner sought views and advice on the factors that may have contributed to increases in the price difference between E10 ethanol blended fuel and premium unleaded 95 fuel.

The Fuel price differentials report (in PDF format size: 551kb) highlights some of these issues, sets out the continuing role in the petrol industry of the Commonwealth Government primarily through the ACCC, and makes some recommendations to enhance transparency and disclosure on price issues for the benefit of consumers.

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Petrol price signs 

All NSW petrol station operators are required to display the price of regular unleaded petrol.

The sign must:

  • be positioned and lit so that any price it displays can be readily seen by motorists approaching the petrol station when the station is open, and
  • display a price that must be a price per litre of petrol. 

The size of the sign should be determined by what is reasonable in the circumstances, given the criteria outlined above.

Petrol station operators will not have to display signs if the erection of a price sign is inconsistent with local council planning restrictions.

The requirements for fuel price signs in NSW came into effect on 1 September 2013.

Service stations are required to have a fuel price sign (or signs) which:

  • displays the price of all fuels (for a service station that sells up to four fuels)
  • displays the prices of at least four fuels (for a service station that sells more than four fuels).

The fuel prices displayed must include the price of LPG and/or diesel if these are sold and the top-selling fuels for that service station, to make up the minimum of four fuel prices.

For any month, 'top selling fuels' are the types of fuel which were supplied to retail customers in the greatest volume during the immediately preceding 6 months.

The price displayed on any fuel price sign must be the price available to all consumers, rather than the price available with discounts or special offers. A sign can contain information about a discount or special offer (for example, “save 4 cents per litre”), so long as the actual price displayed is the price available to all consumers.

The fuel price sign must be positioned and lit so that the information displayed on it can be readily seen by motorists approaching the service station when the station is open.

Service stations are able to display the prices in any order; and display the prices of additional fuels as well as the fuels required above. They do not have to display a fuel price sign if the sign is inconsistent with planning restrictions.

Service stations are also required to display the octane rating (or Research Octane Number) of E10, regular and premium unleaded petrol at the pump.

The fuel price sign requirements are contained in the Fair Trading Regulation 2012.

Watch Minister Roberts announce the commencement of the new petrol price sign requirements (on YouTube)

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