Big servo chains pocketing 13c/L

A LOCAL fuel station employee has spoken out in the wake of the Daily News’ Fuel Watch series, saying the big company-owned service stations “with big salaries” are making things tough for the few local independents.

As reported in the Daily News on Tuesday, a Caltex spokesman said the terminal gate price determined the base price for many Caltex franchise owners.

But the man – who wished to remain anonymous – said while it was reported many stations were pocketing up to 13 cents a litre for unleaded, it was “more like 20c/L”.

The employee, who has worked in the industry for 10 years, said the only two independent stations in Warwick – BP Koremans and Caltex on Wallace – were paying up to 10c/L more for their unleaded stocks than the company-owned servos.

“Independent sites always pay more than gate price (a kind of wholesale price) – gate price does not exist for them,” he said.

“There is only one BP independent in town and they’re stuck – his buy price is equivalent to what our bowser price used to be.

“The core independents get screwed no matter what they do.”

The Warwick resident said most company-owned service stations receive daily faxes with a list of prices across the state and local managers had to abide by those head office-set prices.

“Local managers are usually sticking up for their areas but the big bosses say ‘nup, you have to charge that price’,” he said.

“When I was working I’d come back from Toowoomba and I’d say ‘head office is this price’ as their prices would drop on a Friday for the weekend, but we’d have to keep the price up all week.”

He went further by saying the big fuel companies had grown in size with more staff who in turn have to be paid.

“BP has so many managers across all sites in Australia, they’ve got to make it back with bigger prices,” he said.

“I’ve been in the industry for over 10 years and the wages are basically the same as they were back then – but there’s more managers up the top end who are getting paid and you wonder how they justify their existence.”


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