Drivers query Hunter petrol price gap

HUNTER drivers paid 11¢ a litre more for petrol than their Sydney counterparts over the Easter long weekend.

Hunter drivers paid $1.56 a litre for standard unleaded petrol over the Easter break compared with $1.45 in Sydney.

But NRMA director Kyle Loades says a bigger petrol price problem is looming.

Mr Loades said the biggest concern was the price gap between standard ULP and premium unleaded fuels throughout NSW.

‘‘The wholesale price gap between standard ULP and premium fuels is 3¢ to 4¢ a litre and in the Hunter, the average is 10¢,’’ Mr Loades said.

‘‘It is not justified and we have expressed our concerns with the authorities.

‘‘Analysis by the NRMA has found the gap between E10 [standard] and premium fuels in Sydney last month was 11.5¢ per litre. The margin was even higher outside Sydney.’’

The NRMA put a submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal and also sent it to NSW Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts.

‘‘If the wholesale price difference between the two products is just 2¢ per litre, it is difficult to understand why there is an 11.5¢ per litre differential at the bowser,’’ Mr Roberts said.

‘‘We need to understand what factors are behind an over 500per cent blowout in the price gap between the two products as it moves from wholesale to retail.’’

The NRMA would also like to see a mandatory list of all fuel prices on the advertising boards at service stations.

Commonwealth Securities says motorists can expect more agony at the bowser as the overseas benchmark price strikes a four-year high and the protection of a high Australian dollar fades.

Its chief economist Craig James expects the unleaded petrol price to drift higher over the next seven to 10 days by about 1¢ to 2¢ a litre.

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