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Petrol price increase

Petrol companies are becoming more innovative in their excuses for petrol price rises, Alliance leader and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton said today.

BP has decided to increase petrol prices at the pump by three cents a litre, blaming increases in the costs of refined petrol.

"The problem with this explanation is that 72% of the petrol sold in New Zealand comes directly from crude oil imports," Jim Anderton said.

"In a press release as recently as 23 March this year, Shell claimed increased petrol prices were due to high crude costs and the weakening dollar. Now crude prices are coming down, we have a new excuse for increasing prices.

"BP actually admits that crude oil prices are down. Indeed, crude oil prices adjusted for the lower value of the kiwi dollar are down since February, yet pump prices are up since then and now BP is putting them up even more.

"Crude oil prices started falling on the 17th of July. Although they nudged up slightly late last week, they are lower now than they were then and have been at their lowest level since April yet pump prices are going up."

Now Jim Anderton is predicting the other petrol companies are likely to follow suit.

"It just seems to be an amazing coincidence that whenever one of the major petrol companies increases its prices, all the others follow.

"New Zealanders are paying for this in more ways than one. Only last week the Reserve Bank Governor said that because of the inflationary effects of petrol price rises there would have to be no wage rises this year – or else he would put up interest rates."

Jim Anderton is developing a bench-marking policy, where an independently assessed benchmark price for petrol is released so that the public could measure pump prices against the independent bench-mark.

"Bench-marking is an idea that worked successfully in Australia, and it could be the answer here."

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