Matt Taylor, 14 July 2015

ANGRY Central Coast motorists and the nation’s peak motoring body are calling for a “please explain” as the region’s great petrol price divide hits hard.

An Express Advocate investigation on Monday found Woy Woy peninsula motorists were paying 17.4 cents more for a litre of E10 unleaded than in Tuggerah.

Of the service stations visited, the south’s biggest slug was 142.9c (Shell and BP in Woy Woy) and the north’s cheapest was 125.5c (Metro Tuggerah).

Motorists say they are sick of being “ripped off”.

“I wish the oil companies would stop treating us as jokes,” Woy Woy builder Paul Darmody said after filling up at Metro Tuggerah.

“On a 70-litre tankload you’re talking about $11 more to fill up in Woy Woy than it is here.

“That’s half a six-pack of beer,” he added with a laugh.

At Shell in Erina, Joanna Newland was frank in her assessment of the fuel farce among the region’s 80 service stations.

“It’s a pain in the arse having to pay these high prices. But I’m not going to drive 20-odd kilometres to pay for that cheaper fuel in Tuggerah,” the East Gosford horse groomer said.

“I have the Coles 4c-a-litre discount docket, which is why I fill up here at Shell in Erina.

“In my opinion it comes back to the oil companies, which are setting the prices. And it’s a blatant rip-off.”

Mark Dale agreed, saying many motorists “don’t realise they are being ripped off”.

“At Tuggerah, more traffic is driving through the area, whereas with Woy Woy, you are more likely to be going there. Half the people living on the peninsula wouldn’t have a clue what the cheaper price is up north,” the Woy Woy resident said.

NRMA president Kyle Loades said the price disparity was a major concern.

“The NRMA would like to see cheaper prices on the peninsula and in some other areas of the Central Coast. And we would love to see more competition to force that to naturally happen; otherwise it’s a free market and the majors can charge whatever they like,” he said.

He said the average price of regular unleaded on the Coast was 141.4c this year, with a minimum of 129.2c and a maximum of 146c.

The biggest price differential on Monday was 17.9c within just an 8km range. Metro Tuggerah recorded the morning low of 125.5c compared to Shell Ourimbah’s region high of 143.4c.

“The figures you’ve cited today highlight the need to shop around for fuel,” Mr Loades said. “We clearly need to see more competition on the Central Coast.”

The Express Advocate contacted Shell Woy Woy, BP Woy Woy, Caltex Blackwall and Shell Erina for comment but each declined.

Coles (Shell) also declined to comment, but a Caltex spokeswoman said “85 per cent of sites are franchised out and they set their own pricing”.

“And the number of customers through each site determines the fuel price,” she said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission monitors petrol prices, but does not set or control them. Earlier this year it investigated prices in Darwin and Armidale.

Monday’s fuel prices (Unleaded E10)

● Shell Woy Woy 142.9c/litre

● BP Woy Woy 142.9

● Caltex Blackwall 140.9

● Shell Kariong 142.9

● Caltex West Gosford 139.9

● Caltex Erina 141.9

● Shell Erina 142.9

● Metro Ourimbah 137.9

● United Ourimbah 137.7

● Shell Ourimbah 143.4

● Caltex Forresters Beach 142.9

● BP Tumbi Umbi 140.9

● Shell Killarney Vale 142.9

● Metro Shelly Beach 137.9

● Caltex Long Jetty 139.9

● BP Tuggerah 125.9

● Metro Tuggerah 125.5

● Caltex Tuggerah 126.5

Extracted in full from the Daily Telegraph.