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JUDITH AISTHORPE  |  AUGUST 11, 2015 8:54AM

ONE year ago, it would have sounded like a cruel joke.

But fuel prices have dropped so dramatically, Darwin is now officially the cheapest market in the country.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission yesterday released the third quarterly report into the Australian petroleum industry for 2015.

“This was the first — and only — time that monthly average Darwin prices were lower than in the five largest cities since the ACCC started to regularly collect Darwin prices in January 2000,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The month of June saw Darwin record the lowest average monthly price of all capital cites at 134.9¢ a litre.

The figure is 6.5¢ a litre cheaper than the combined average of all capital cities.

Car NT CEO Byron Henderson said the cheaper fuel prices was welcome news.

“The AANT welcomes the results of the release of the ACCC and it’s been a significant change in prices particularly in Darwin and across the NT,” he said.

“We will continue to advocate on behalf of our members to keep fuel prices low.”

Mr Henderson said he did not know how long the cheaper fuel prices would last but he said the wholesale and retail prices were running at a tight margin.

“It’s running at reasonably tight margins; what I would say is we would like to see Darwin and the Northern Territory remain competitive,” he said.

The average June prices for the three other towns ACCC recorded in the Territory — Alice Springs 140.9¢ a litre, Tennant Creek 162.7¢ a litre and Katherine 137.5¢ a litre — were higher than Darwin’s monthly June average.

Extracted in full from:  ntnews.com.au