Eliza Wheeler, 29 January 2016

MARYBOROUGH drivers are rejoicing with the cheapest fuel in years – two petrol stations, Woolworths and Puma, dropped their unleaded prices to $1.059 per litre.

But in Hervey Bay, the Woolworths service station has the same fuel for $1.189 – an incredible 13 cent discrepancy.

FUEL WAR: Petrol prices from across the Fraser Coast

On average, drivers in Hervey Bay are paying at least 10 cents per litre more than Maryborough at the bowser.

A Woolworths spokesperson declined to be interviewed about prices on the Fraser Coast but provided a statement that the major chain aimed to be competitive in a local fuel market.

“We act as a price follower, and move our prices up and down to ensure we remain competitive,” the statement read.

According to RACQ, the average price for unleaded petrol in the Bay this week should be $1.13 per litre, but drivers were paying about $1.23.

RACQ spokeswoman Kirsty Clinton said there was no reason for petrol in Hervey Bay to be so expensive right now.

“Again, Maryborough motorists are paying much less than Hervey Bay motorists, about 10cents per litre less in fact, which there is simply no reason for,” Ms Clinton said.

“We would like to see prices come down to similar prices that motorists in Maryborough are enjoying, where the average is currently $1.17.”

Ms Clinton said there were many factors which went into determining fuel costs, but the decision ultimately came down to the individual station.

“The cost of ULP is made of a lot of factors including the wholesale price, government excise (taxes), insurance fees, local freight and terminal costs and also profit margins,” she said.

“The end price is up to the service station to decide.

“This is why we strongly encourage motorists to shop around and reward those service stations charging lower prices.”

However not all Hervey Bay stations are pricing their fuel so high; the Hervey Bay Boat Club’s petrol station in Urangan is selling unleaded petrol for $1.12, or 10 cents under the average Hervey Bay price for this week.

Boat Club commercial manager Lawrie Keleher said providing a cheaper fuel option gave the independent station a competitive edge.

“What we try to do, when fuel prices drop out of Brisbane, we try and drop the fuel accordingly,” Mr Keleher said.

“The most important thing is to keep it at a competitive range.

“We’ve always been one or two cents cheaper than Woollies and it’s not just us; there are three independents in Bay, also running competitive prices…”

Due to the 10 cent difference between the Boat Club’s prices and other stations around the Bay, Mr Keleher said he was enjoying two or three times more customers than when prices are matched.

“Usually we’re about two cents cheaper,” he said.

“But given their buying power, for me, I can’t understand why bigger companies are charging so much for fuel.”

She said RACQ would encourage drivers to sort out cheaper fuel options, and applauded independent sellers such as the Hervey Bay Boat Club for offering a less expensive option.

“What we do know is that their cheaper fuel prices are a good thing for motorists, and motorists should take advantage and shop with them if it is cheapest.”

Extracted in full from the Fraser Coast Chronicle.