TASMANIANS planning a drive in the country over the Easter holiday period might consider holding off buying petrol until they reach Dunalley, Bothwell, Hagley, St Helens or even Wynyard.

RACT Member Assist general manager Darren Moody said service stations in country towns had recently been selling fuel for as low as 140c a litre “and sometimes a little bit less”.

The Motormouth website yesterday had most Hobart urban retailers selling petrol for between 143c and 147.9c a litre, with some exceeding 148c a litre.

“That’s a little bit surprising,’’ Mr Moody said.

“The country guys, it seems they buy it and get it in their tanks for a price, and then they put their margin on – that they need to make money – and then they just sell it. They don’t necessarily conform to other prices around them.”

Mr Moody said city retailers could argue they had higher costs such as rates and rent however, “the increase in volume should more than offset the discounted prices that we see in the country”.

Tasmanian Automobile Chamber of Commerce general manager Malcolm Little said some city service stations could be at a price disadvantage to country sellers who relied on other, more lucrative sources “for the bulk of their income”.

Duane Witt is owner of Wynyard’s West End BP service station and one of 10 service stations identified by RACT’s GasBuddy app as offering the consistently lowest unleaded price.

Mr Witt said he stuck to the principle that if “you look after the locals, they will look after you”.

Mr Witt said he achieved this by running a 10c-13c a litre margin on petrol with driveway service thrown in, plus a workshop.

He said he needed to lift his price 1c yesterday, to 143.5c a litre due to his latest delivery rising by that much.

Mr Little said Tasmanian petrol retailers never artificially raised prices ahead of major holidays, and it wouldn’t happen this time.

Mr Moody said the wholesale price yesterday stood at 130c a litre

“It hasn’t moved much for months,’’ he said.

“It’s our view that a price in the early 140s, to 143 cents is a fair and reasonable price based on the wholesale price.”

Mr Moody said prices had this week jumped in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane to, according to Motormouth, similar levels as Hobart. Many Sydney service stations remained in the 120c a litre band.

The top 10 on RACT’s GasBuddy app are: Shell Dunalley, Shell Risdon Vale, BP Scamander, BP St Helens, United Scottsdale, Pineview Service Station Scottsdale, United Hagley, Bothwell Super Store, Bothwell Garage and BP Wynyard.

Extracted from The Mercury