Nick Bielby and Donna Sharpe, 27 April 2016

The price of unleaded petrol has skyrocketed in Maitland, seemingly overnight, in the lead-up to the Anzac Day long-weekend.

At least some Maitland service stations have taken advantage of a national holiday.– Kyle Loades, NRMA president

Maitland motorists had enjoyed E10 unleaded prices around 92c/l at many service stations in and around the city for several weeks.

But prices jumped across the board to around 122c/l last Thursday – the day before many people were ready to fill up and travel for the public holiday weekend.

Prices at several petrol stations along the New England Highway at Maitland remained high on Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, highway petrol stations at Hexham and Sandgate were selling unleaded fuel for about 20c/l cheaper.

NRMA president Kyle Loades criticised the hike and said at least some outlets in the area had taken advantage of Hunter motorists.

“Price spiking is never justifiable,” he said.

“At least some Maitland service stations have taken advantage of a national holiday.”

The mayor of Maitland, Cr Peter Blackmore, who owned a Rutherford petrol station for 17 years up to 1990, slammed the increase.

“Shell at Rutherford is selling E10 for $1.24 a litre – upped the price just in time for the long weekend,” he said.

“How can oil companies justify such a massive price hike of 30c/l when in many cases the same fuel they were selling the day before for 30c/l cheaper was already under the ground?”

Maitland ranked 46th out of 53 on the list of the state’s cheapest fuels prices last week, with an average price of 126.9c/l.

It was a steep fall from the previous week when Maitland ranked first on the list, with an average price of 95.7c/l.

Last week, Maitland was ranked behind Newcastle (42nd), Singleton (34th) and Muswellbrook (33rd).

The cheapest fuel price last week was in Batemans Bay, which recorded an average of 104.9c/l for unleaded fuel, according to NRMA data.

Extracted in full from the Maitland Mercury.