PETROL PUMPS PRICES

By SALLY GORDON

IT is a consumer's worst nightmare.

We are digging deeper in our pocket at the petrol bowser, as well as paying more for goods hit by fuel transport costs.

Transport industry workers say escalating fuel prices will be passed on to consumers, with the cost of living essentials ? like food ? bumped up as well.

On Friday, fuel prices in the Clarence Valley peaked at $1.38/litre for unleaded.

Yesterday, bowsers in the Valley ranged from $1.33/litre for unleaded petrol to $1.38.

By next year, economists predict fuel prices may jump to an unbearable $2/litre.

Michael Wade from Grafton Country Removals said that in the past two years the cost of running his pantec truck to Sydney and back had jumped from $350 to $600.

He said although fuel prices didn't affect his business as much as it would a large trucking company, the cost of products and services in general would increase to compensate for rising fuel costs.

"Food and everything you use is going to go up because transport costs have got to go up," he said.

"Everything goes up if fuel goes up ... and the consumer is going to end up paying."

Clarence Removals Service owner David Orr said the transport industry was doing it tough, particularly long-distance operators.

He said his business had held off increasing prices for the past three years despite an $80 increase for a tank of fuel.

Mr Orr agreed that if fuel prices continued to skyrocket consumers would be a lot worse off, not just at the petrol pumps.

"You have all these small towns on the Pacific Highway that have to be serviced; it (the transportation industry) won't die down it just means prices will be passed on," he said.

Drivers looking to sell their fuel-guzzling V6 and V8 cars also are feeling the pinch, with TV news reports at the weekend showing a 10 per cent drop on the re-sale value of second-hand 4WDs.

But it's not all doom and gloom for Clarence Valley motorists ? a survey of fuel prices from the Clarence down to Penrith on the weekend showed petrol in Grafton was a lot cheaper than our southern cousins, in some cases by 14 cents/litre.



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