Brad Greenshields, 18 February 2016

IF YOU’VE gone on a road trip in the past month, have you got the feeling that fuel is cheaper elsewhere?

Coffs Harbour’s fuel prices haven’t gone up but they haven’t gone down by much either. And that appears to be the issue concerning the NRMA.

“Just driving around myself I’ve been struck by how much they (fuel prices) have come down in some locations,” NRMA local director Wendy Machin said.

“In the odd spot probably a week or so ago it sneaked under a dollar in Sydney but even in some of the country locations there’s quite a wide variety but certainly better than what you’re seeing in Coffs Harbour.”

On the NRMA’s Bowser Buster website, prices for various regional centres around the state are recorded, compared and ranked.

For the week ending January 11, Coffs Harbour was ranked as the 15th cheapest town in NSW to purchase unleaded petrol out of a list of 54 centres.

Since that time, the price for a litre of fuel elsewhere has dropped enough to see Coffs Harbour slip down to number 32 for the week ending February 15.

It’s even tougher for motorists who purchase their fuel in Woolgooga as its ranking has slipped from the 17th cheapest down to 39th in the same time frame.

Those who drive diesel vehicles are copping the brunt even worse.

Just after Christmas Coffs Harbour was ranked as the 31st cheapest place to play diesel out of 52 regional centres.

The latest figures from the NRMA suggest only Mudgee, Ballina, Gundagai and Forster are more expensive places to buy diesel.

Ms Machin said the arrival in the near future of a website introduced by the ACCC and State Government which necessitates all petrol stations to show their prices will be a benefit to motorists.

“It will be forcing petrol stations to show prices in real time so that the information that the oil companies have been sharing through a third party for years will now be accessible by the average consumer and we think that live pricing has to help competition,” she said.

Ms Machin added she expects to see fuel prices to take a significant dip by the end of the week.

“We would expect with petrol prices doing what they’re doing generally to see a three to four cent drop over the coming few days,” she said.

“If people can hold off buying petrol or they don’t have to fill up right now, we would suggest just wait a couple of days and see if that does come through in the Coffs Harbour market.”

Extracted in full from The Coffs Harbour Advocate.