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consumers
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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.

Ethanol-blended 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 about ethanol-blended petrol (E10), go to the E10 Fuel for Thought website www.e10fuelforthought.nsw.gov.au.

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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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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 price signs. These signs 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 the standard retail price - that is, the price available to anyone, without discounts or other special offers, expressed as the price per litre. 

A sign may 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 customers.

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

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

The requirements for fuel price signs in NSW came into effect on 1 September 2013 with further changes on 1 January 2017.

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 E10, LPG and diesel, if these are sold, to make up the minimum of four fuel prices. As of 1 January 2017, the previous requirement to display top selling fuels no longer applies.

Service stations may display the prices in any order; and display the prices of additional fuels as well as the fuels required above.

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

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