TAMWORTH’S scorecard and reputation as a place where you buy some of the dearest petrol in the state has continued with a new report showing it consistently fails to deliver cheaper fuel.
And some of the blame has been laid onthe fact we lack strong independent fuel outlets. The report shows Tamworth prices are among the highest in the state.
Isolated areas and areas without competition are the hardest hit, with the metropolitan and coastal areas of Sydney, Central Coast, Moama and Tweed Heads scoring the best prices. NRMA’S 18-month analysis of petrol prices in regional towns across NSW and the ACT was released yesterday, showing an average gap of 14 cents between the cheapest and most expensive areas. The Bowser Buster website lists the average price of fuel at more than 50 locations, ranking their price movements weekly.
In the New England North West, Inverell, which has three independent service stations, had the cheapest prices, with an average of 150.2c per litre for diesel and 152.3c for unleaded petrol.
Diesel cost an average 152.2c at Gunnedah, while unleaded was 151.4c.
Moree’s diesel cost 152.6c and unleaded cost 152.2c.
Tamworth, which has only one independent fuel station at Nemingha, had the worst regional results, with 155.1c for diesel and 153.2c for unleaded.
NRMA western region director Graham Blight told The Leader fuel prices were affected by demand and competition.
“A lot of the towns in country areas don’t have the competition or they’re isolated,” Mr Blight said.
“For example, the areas of Cooma, Mudgee and Tumut are consistently high because they’re on the end of a road.
“If there’s not a strong independent, then the majors are going to milk the system.”
Mr Blight said the message was clear – support your independents, shop around and slow down.
“Support your independents because they are the competition,” he said.
“Even though motorists complain about prices they don’t do much about it.
“They’ll just keep going to the same place.
“People also need to think about how they drive their vehicles.
“Don’t overload it with weight, don’t go to the supermarket every day of the week, and slow down to use less fuel.”
Motorists shouldn’t be concerned about fuel quality from independent outlets.
“The fuel is delivered from exactly the same place,” Mr Blight said.
“There’s nothing wrong with the fuel, but people get these ideas.”
Mr Blight also encouraged motorists to use social media to improve competition.
“When you see a cheap price, spread it around and let other people know.”
There won’t be any reprieve for motorists, with Australia’s limited refining capacity contributing to the problem.
Mr Blight said Australia’s fuel security was becoming a major issue.
“Within a few years 80 per cent of our fuel will be imported in the refined form,” he said.
“All major operators are closing down refineries because they say they’re not competitive.”