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Fuel prices in NSW (and across Australia) are influenced by several factors, including overseas and domestic market forces. Changes in international benchmark prices, the value of the Australian dollar compared to the US dollar, competition, and pricing by wholesalers and retailers all affect fuel prices in NSW.
The NSW Government (and NSW Fair Trading) does not regulate or set the price of fuel. No government agency in Australia does. Instead market forces determine how much it costs. As a consumer, you can help influence the market by choosing how and when you spend your money.
Fuel price signs
All NSW petrol station operators are required to display price signs (unless it is inconsistent with local council planning restrictions). These signs must:
- be positioned and lit so that any price displayed can be readily seen by motorists approaching the petrol station when the station is open
- display the standard retail price - that is, the price available to anyone, without discounts or other special offers, expressed as the price per litre
- include the price of E10, LPG and diesel (if these are sold and the service station sells four or more fuels)
- display the price of all fuels (for a service station that sells up to four fuels)
- display the prices of at least four fuels (for a service station that sells more than four fuels).
Fuel prices can be displayed in any order, and from 1 January 2017, the previous requirement to display top-selling fuels on price signs no longer applies.
Petrol price signs can contain information about a discount or special offer (for example, "save 4 cents per litre"), as long as the actual price displayed is the price available to all customers.
These signage requirements help motorists in NSW make an informed choice about their fuel purchase. It also helps drive competition.
Service stations are also required to display the octane rating (or Research Octane Number) of E10, regular and premium unleaded petrol at the pump.
Discount fuel schemes
Discount fuel schemes (like shopper docket discounts) offer cash rebates when you purchase fuel.
Some schemes require membership and others require the consumer to meet certain terms and conditions to be eligible for the reduced price.
Petrol price signs can promote discount schemes, provided the sign also displays the price (without discount) available to all customers.
Report misleading discount fuel schemes
We are currently investigating misleading and deceptive fuel discount schemes at NSW petrol outlets and service stations.
If you think you’ve been misled by unreasonable or undisclosed conditions attached to a fuel discount offer, we’d like to hear about your experience.
Our investigations rely on people who have witnessed illegal conduct, providing a written statement and attending Court. For this reason, we are not accepting anonymous information.
To report misleading or deceptive discount fuel schemes, make a complaint with us.
Please note, we are not investigating the price of fuel or changes in the price of fuel.
FuelCheck provides motorists across the state with real-time information about fuel prices, helping consumers find the cheapest fuel in any suburb or town in NSW.
It shows you the average price for all fuel types on any given day. It also allows you to:
- search for a specific service station
- find the cheapest fuel near you
- track price changes
- find the cheapest day of the week to fill up.
The mobile app also lets you nominate your favourite service station and receive alerts when your preferred fuel drops in price or is cheaper at a station close-by. You can also plot your frequent or longer journeys in ‘My Trip’ to locate the cheapest fuel along your route.
FuelCheck is a free online service and mobile app from the NSW Government.
Visit FuelCheck online or download the app:
"Never use your phone while driving, traffic penalties may apply."
Frequently asked questions
My nearest service station isn't listed on FuelCheck. Why not?
If you are searching for a specific fuel type and find that a station near you isn’t showing in FuelCheck, it may be because the service station doesn’t sell that particular fuel or it has temporarily run out of stock.
If you still find that a station near you isn’t showing up, you can report the issue both on the webpage and in the app.
What happens if I see a price discrepancy in FuelCheck? How do I make a complaint?
You should not see a different price, as service station operators are required to ensure the price of a fuel in FuelCheck matches the standard price at the pump. However, if you see a price difference, you should first alert the service station operator. If this fails to resolve the issue, or if you are not satisfied with the operator’s response, you can make a complaint with us:
Making a complaint using the app
To lodge a price discrepancy complaint directly through FuelCheck, you need to do this while you’re still at the service station.
To bring up the FuelCheck complaint form, tap on the relevant station in map view and tap ‘Report Price Mismatch’.
The service station detail will automatically add to the form and you’ll then be prompted to attach evidence of the price discrepancy which could include a photo of the service station signage or bowser display screen, or a receipt showing price paid).
Never use your phone while driving, traffic penalties may apply.
Making a complaint on the NSW Fair Trading website
If you would prefer to make the complaint later, you can complete a general complaint form and attach your pricing discrepancy evidence through our website.
Please note: You always need to include evidence in order to verify the price of the fuel at the particular time you were at the service station.
How does NSW Fair Trading deal with complaints relating to FuelCheck and fuel price discrepancy?
NSW Fair Trading reviews each FuelCheck complaint. Depending on the circumstances, the service station may be fined for non-compliance. If necessary, penalty notices of up to $550 can be issued.
Why is FuelCheck showing me fuel from another suburb?
FuelCheck is designed to find the cheapest petrol in or near the suburb you have requested. Sometimes it will show a nearby suburb where the cheapest fuel can be found. You can then decide if you want to drive to the cheapest petrol station or buy closer to your location.
Adulterated or contaminated fuel
It is illegal to manufacture and/or sell contaminated fuel.
Adulterated or contaminated fuel is when the petrol or diesel product you’re buying is mixed with or manufactured using other hydrocarbon products such as heating oil, white spirit or water (see below).
Adulterated fuel can cause considerable damage to your vehicle and its engine. There are also significant safety concerns as adulterated fuel often has a lower flash point than the normal product.
Did you know? Water is present in most fuel storage tanks. The tanks and pumping system are designed to take the petrol from the top of the storage tank so the water does not enter individual vehicle petrol tanks. Normally, fuel companies will test whether water is in the petrol.
If you suspect contaminated fuel
Reports on adulterated fuel can be made to the national Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources by submitting an online complaint form or by calling (02) 6243 7353.
Please note: The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources cannot help consumers with claims for compensation from suppliers. If you would like compensation for damages and loss, please refer to our Repairs, replacements and refunds page and make a complaint with us.
The quality of automotive fuel in Australia is regulated by the Commonwealth Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. The Act 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, go to the fuel quality pages on the Department of Environment and Energy website.
Ethanol-blended petrol or E10
E10 is often the cheapest petrol available in NSW, but the lower price has nothing to do with the quality of the fuel. The Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 requires all petrol (including E10) to meet the same high standards.
Many modern cars currently running on unleaded petrol are compatible with E10. However, motorists should always follow their vehicle manufacturer’s advice on the recommended fuel to use in their vehicle. This information can be found on the inside of the fuel cap, in the owner’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website. You can also check your car’s compatibility on our E10 Fuel for Thought website.
What is ethanol?
Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, is a clear alcohol made from fermented sugar or other crops, such as grain. It can be used directly as a fuel or blended with gasoline.
Most of the ethanol used to make E10 in NSW is made by fermenting starch left over after wheat has been turned into flour. Supplies are also sourced from Queensland where the ethanol is made from the grain sorghum.
E10 and the environment
In 2008, the CSIRO did a study into the health impacts of ethanol-blended petrol which concluded that E10 reduces particles emissions (PM 2.5) by 20-30 per cent, and in doing so reduces health impacts, compared to regular unleaded petrol.
The CSIRO also found that E10 fuel produced under Australian conditions has between two to five per cent lower CO2 emissions than regular unleaded petrol.
Learn more about E10 and check your vehicle’s compatibility at the E10 Fuel for Thought website.