Rural petrol is 18.3c litre more

COUNTRY motorists are being ripped off at the petrol bowser in the lead-up to Easter, with drivers in some areas paying 18.3 cents a litre more than in other areas, says competition expert, Professor Frank Zumbo.

Prof Zumbo, from the University of New South Wales, has reviewed publicly available pricing information from the website, and found enormous discrepancies in country petrol pricing.

Motormouth produces a table comparing petrol prices in regional centres across the state and it shows places like Forster having to pay 157.4 cents a litre.

The table rated Grafton at number 30 at 146.7 cents.

Coffs Harbour was listed at number 18 at 148 cents and Lismore at 34 at 146.1 cents a litre.

Prof Zumbo said the price discrepancy of 18.3 cents between the highest and lowest prices meant most country motorists were paying much more than they would have if there was real and effective competition at the wholesale and retail levels in country NSW.

“Most country motorists are being forced to pay much higher prices for unleaded petrol because of a lack of real and effective competition in their local area,” he said. “Country motorists are clearly better off where there is a strong, price-competitive independent in the local area.

“Strong independents keep petrol prices down and where independents are forced to close or are forced by their oil company suppliers to pay a high wholesale price, it's clear that the retail price in the country town will be much higher than it needs to be.

“The discrepanices are not due to transport costs as transport costs are a tiny fraction of the price of petrol and cannot explain the up to 18 cents price discrepancies.”

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