Newcastle drivers pay more for fuel, but price down overall

MIND THE GAP: Newcastle motorists paid 14 cents more at the bowser than their Sydney counterparts on Thursday, but Hunter petrol prices are falling overall.


RELIEF at the bowsercould be at hand for Newcastle drivers, despite them having to pay14 centsmore for petrolthan motoristsinSydney.

Theaverage costof unleaded fuel in Newcastle on Thursday hovered at $1.18 a litre ascustomers in Sydneyenjoyedan averageof $1.04 and, in some areas, less than a dollar.

Novocastrians alsopaidseven cents a litre more than their counterparts in Maitland, while the United service station at North Wyong was charging $1.03 a litre.

Some Hunter service stationscharged far more, including the United at Freemans Waterhole ($1.21) and an outletinNewcastlethatreportedlygougedcustomers nearly $1.60 a litre.

The NRMA’s Peter Khoury said thatwas “insane”, but added that prices in Newcastle were falling overall.

“Newcastle stillshouldn’t be 12 to 14 cents more expensive than Sydney, and there’sa way to go in Newcastle, in Maitland and on the Central Coast,”Mr Khourysaid.

“It hasn’t fallen far enough, but the trend in Newcastle is that prices should be heading south.”

Mr Khoury said there was “no reason” for Newcastle motorists to fear petrol price spikes in the near future.

Fuel gate prices (the price service stations pay for fuel) dippedas low as $1.04in Newcastle on Thursday, onlya cent more than Sydney gate prices.

Motorists can generallyexpect to pay about seven cents per litre more than the gate price when retail margins are added at the bowser.

Newcastle sat in 14thplaceon the NRMA’s Bowser Buster cheap fuelrankings for NSW, down three spots from the previous week.

Maitland was in eighth place for cheap petrol, down from sixth, and the Central Coast was 10th.

Average fuel pricesin smaller cities andcountry townssuch as Casino,Forbes, Leetonand Bega were all lower than thosein the Hunter.

Mr Khoury said Hunter motorists would always extract maximum value from fuel providers by “shopping around”.

The shopper loyalty fuel discount schemesrun by Coles and Woolworths, he said,were a distractionfrom the retail giants’inflated pump prices.

“Try and go to the independents, because they’re the cheapest,” Mr Khourysaid.

“To pay $1.30 so you can save four cents a litre doesn’t make sense.”

Anoversupply of oilhas sent theglobal oil benchmarkto a six-year low and resultedinlower prices for Hunter motorists, even sincethepre-Christmas period when locals were being charged $1.30 a litre.

On a global scale, it hastriggered the biggestslump in the energy sectorsince the2008 global financial crisis.

The profits of major oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corpand BP Plc have beenhalved.

The currencies of crude-rich countries such as Mexico and Russia have also declined sharply.