TOWNSVILLE service stations are pleading with motorists to buy local despite other regional businesses offering cheaper fuel prices.

The RACQ yesterday urged local motorists to “vote with their wallets”, even if it meant filling up outside of Townsville.

According to ORIMA Research, the average price of unleaded fuel in Townsville for the week ending Sunday was 129.6c/litre. That is 12.7c/litre more expensive than in Ayr and 6.1c more than in Ingham.

It comes as Herbert MP Cathy O’Toole launched a campaign targeting high petrol prices in the city yesterday.

Mrs O’Toole has questioned why Townsville residents are paying more at the bowser if the petrol is coming straight from Port of Townsville.

Soren Nannestad, who owns the Shell service station on Bundock St, said the region needed to support locals. His business was yesterday selling unleaded fuel for 129.9c/litre, while diesel was 125.9c/litre.

“I’m a single site that’s privately operated,” he said.

“You have to keep the money local. People have a go at us for the price of our fuel but if we sell it any cheaper we’ll be out of business and then 18 people will be out of a job.

“People need to look at the whole picture.”

Mr Nannestad said business had been quiet recently.

“Because Ayr is such a small place all the other places have dropped their prices to match in order to stay in business,” he said. “I’ve got to try and make ends meet. I’ve got my margin that I try and make but we have wages, super and insurances to pay. I try to be fair.”

BP Ezifuel’s Kerry Mcnee said the Bowen Rd business tried to keep the fuel as competitive and low as possible.

“Our unleaded was 129.9c/litre yesterday,” she said.

“People have been filling up, some man came in to fill up before going fishing for three weeks yesterday.”

Ms Mcnee expects business to pick up this week.

Mrs O’Toole said during the Christmas period, petrol companies in the city should not be charging exorbitant prices and creating more stress.

“I would like to know if Townsville has the first point of access straight from the Port, and if so, why are the outer regions paying less? Surely there are travel costs to the outer regions,” she aid.

“I am asking Townsvillians, regardless of where they are in Queensland, to upload images of fuel prices and their location to social media with the hashtag #petrolpricesnq or send through via email to my office.

“With the materials gathered from this campaign, I will be making a strong case to the ACCC regarding North Queensland petrol prices.”

The campaign will run until January 23, 2017.

Extracted from Townsville Bulletin