TAMWORTH’S reputation as one of the most expensive places for fuel in the state might be about to change.
The city has consistently featured in the top ten list for the highest prices in NSW, but in recent weeks has slipped to the mid-20s.
Armidale has now become the most expensive place to fill a tank in the New England region and is well inside the top ten across the state, according to the NRMA Bowser Buster website, which ranks 54 locations in NSW in order of the cheapest unleaded petrol and diesel prices.
The latest figures also reveal Armidale sells diesel at the dearest price. As diesel is predominantly used by industries, trucking companies and farmers, the cost and demand for diesel in country areas is higher, NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said.
He said companies “put their profit margins up” on diesel because they know industries need it and will pay for it.
The overall favourable shift in Tamworth’s rankings is most likely due to other towns significantly lifting their prices, Mr Khoury said.
“Tamworth has remained fairly constant, but constantly high,” he said. “The reason Tamworth fuel prices have hovered between 155 and 160 cents per litre is due to the lack of independent outlets that would ‘fuel’ competition.”
“When an independent comes into a new town, they have no choice but to compete with big players on price. Then places like Woolies and Coles have no choice but to drop their price,” he said.
Armidale faces the same lack of competition but is selling at the higher price of 160.9 cents per litre.
Mr Khoury said the situation in Iraq has been a factor for fluctuating prices globally, but the strength of the Australian dollar has “cancelled out” the negative impact.
He said the school holidays “certainly shouldn’t” reflect an artificial rise in petrol prices.
BP Longyard console operator Wayne Moody said the outlet would not raise prices with the holidays.
“We don’t just put it up because it’s a holiday,” Mr Moody said.
“Prices fluctuate with how we buy and sell the fuel.
“We haven’t varied much at all for a while – up and down a few cents – but it’s stabilised lately.”