Kara Johnson, 15 September 2015

PORT Augusta residents are being hit hard when it comes to buying fuel.

Local retailers have failed to pass on any savings over the month of August, making consumers fork out at least 15 cents more per litre on average.

The Transcontinental sales manager Hannah Smith said through her travel to surrounding towns for works, she’s definitely noticed the difference in price.

“I won’t fill up in Port Augusta any more, I’ll just fill up in Port Pirie or Whyalla,” she said.

“Going back to October last year it would have been the opposite, but now Port Augusta is 10 cents dearer.”

RAA senior analyst Chris West said most of regional South Australia has failed to drop in line with falling wholesale prices.

He said the overall rating fell from 3.3 to 2.7, representing the largest month-to-month drop since November last year.

“Of most concern this month was Port Augusta, who had the largest drop in our ratings since July, as the local fuel industry failed to pass on any recent reductions in cost price,” he said.

“Country motorists are not only missing out on crude oil price reductions, they’re also beginning to see the gap between city and country prices grow again.

Port Augusta’s current weekly average price (week of September 6) is 139 cents per litre, a far cry from Whyalla’s 122 c/pl, and closely followed by Port Pirie’s 129 c/pl.

Comparatively, in Adelaide the average weekly price is 126.3 c/pl, with the current cheapest price being 112.7 c/pl.

From the end of August to the beginning of September the average price in the Adelaide was even lower at around 115-117 c/pl

Mr West said Ceduna is currently lower than Port Augusta at 131 c/pl too, with an average of 133 for the month of August.

“If Ceduna can do it then there’s no reason why Port Augusta can’t too,” he said.

“When the ratings started in mid-2013 Port Augusta was the lead, and it’s now shifted to Whyalla.

“From previous retailer behaviour, at the end of August we would have expected Port Augusta’s prices to dive below the mid-120s by now.

“There are other towns elsewhere getting very good prices, they’re suffering unnecessarily.”

Extracted in full from The Transcontinental Port Augusta.

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