Petrol savings slow to arrive in outback
Thursday, 8th January, 2015
By Erica Visser
Sydney petrol prices have fallen below a dollar for the first time in five years, but local motorists appear set to miss out at the bowser once again.
Whilst the cost of fuel in Broken Hill has dropped over 20 cents since a peak high of 157 cents a litre in October last year, BH residents are still paying more whilst our urban counterparts enjoy the benefits of plunging global oil prices.
According to NRMA’s Bowser Buster, Broken Hill motorists paid an average of 136.8 cents a litre over a week ending yesterday.
In a list ranking petrol prices at 54 NSW locations from cheapest to most expensive, Broken Hill sat at number 34 in the week ending Sunday.
However the city did beat out larger regional centres such as Wagga Wagga (137.7 cents), Tamworth (139.7 cents) and Coffs Harbour (143.3 cents).
Local resident Eliza Hull, who this week drove home from a holiday near Coffs Harbour, said she was careful to fill up at the towns where petrol was the cheapest, such as Newcastle (128.5 cents).
“I had a two-day drive back from the mid-north coast so I spent a fair amount on petrol,” Ms Hull said.
“I tend to notice petrol prices more in summer because it’s too hot to ride my bike so I’m glad they’ve dropped a bit.
“It would be nice to see the low prices passed on from Sydney.”
The federal government’s Small Business Minister Bruce Billson says the disparity between urban and regional pump prices had prompted concerns about the “mysteries” of fuel pricing.
“It seems curious to me that many Australians in rural areas are not yet reaping the benefits of these low prices,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Competitive pressures alone were not sufficient to ensure efficient pricing and the protection of consumers in all retail fuel markets.
Mr Billson wanted motorists to raise their concerns with the consumer watchdog.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been directed by the minister to monitor the prices, costs and profits of the petroleum industry for the next three years.
Monitoring reports will now be produced quarterly rather than annually.
The commission will also be able to look at specific regions, targeting perceived irregularities in the fuel market or market dysfunction.