BALLARAT’S petrol price has remained stuck for more than three weeks with motorists forced to pay more than 161c per litre for fuel in some instances.

And with wholesale prices heading north, there’s no reduction in prices expected in the coming weeks.

It comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released a report naming and shaming the most expensive fuel providers around the country.

The ACCC report listed major retailers Coles Express, BP and Caltex as having highest prices on average while independent chains such as 7-Eleven and United generally had prices lower than the market average.

Petrol around Ballarat is ranging between 137c per litre at United Stations up to as high as 161c per litre for E10 at Caltex in Howitt Street in Ballarat’s north.

The United price is close to the wholesale rate which has jumped more than seven cents in the past month from 130.32c on April 28 to 137.85c as of Friday.

This also compares poorly to the low of 106.8c per litre in June last year.

The ACCC said while fuel tended to remain high, the silver lining was that the lack of movement in country centres generally meant prices weren’t subject to wild fluctuations as often seen in the city.

Melbourne’s average price on Friday was 157.9c per litre, having jumped from 137.7c on May 17.

The ACCC said fuel prices are generally higher in regional Australia due to lower population and demand resulting in fewer outlets, leading to less competition, higher costs for transport and storage of fuel and less demand for convenience sales like drinks, food and newspapers that can enable retailers to add to overall profits and keep fuel prices lower.

“Regional fuel retailers don’t usually sell their fuel stocks as quickly as city retailers, so when there is any change in the international benchmark and wholesale prices of fuel it generally takes longer to impact on country retail prices,” the ACCC said.

“While prices in regional areas might fall slowly they also tend to rise more slowly.”

RACV’s Manager of Vehicle Engineering Michael Case said the RACV encouraged motorists to try to hold off filling up if possible when prices are high in the cycles.

He said motorists should visit the RACV fuel watch website for the most up-to-date fuel price information and find the cheapest price in their area.

Extracted from The Courier