The cheapest and most expensive places to buy petrol in Victoria have been uncovered in a price investigation.

In a surprise result, Benalla (131.7c a litre) and Ballarat (137.5c a litre) trumped city locations for the lowest annual average cost for unleaded fuel.

RACV vehicle engineering manager Michael Case said the survey “exploded the myth” that country petrol prices were always dearer than the city.

The RACV calculated average prices for the last financial year at more than 500 service stations.

In Melbourne, the cheapest unleaded fuel was found in Maidstone (137.9c), McKinnon (138.2c), Doveton (138.3c) and Wantirna (138.5c).

The RACV said the most expensive suburbs, based on the annual average, were Kingsville (146.5c), Ringwood East and Gardenvale (146.3c) and Hampton (146.1c).

Mr Case said: “The difference between the suburban highest and lowest price is almost $5 per tank of fuel, and that can have a big impact on the annual household budget.”

The price gap could amount to an extra $150 a year, based on a car using 1500 litres to travel 15,000km, he said.

The RACV found Victoria’s most expensive places for unleaded fuel were Ararat at 150.9c, Kyabram at 148.9c, and Yarrawonga at 148c.

Mr Case said a main factor influencing petrol pricing was competition, or a lack of it.

“In highly competitive local areas when one retailer cuts their prices other competitors follow,” he said.

Across Melbourne, the average unleaded price last financial year was 141.3c a litre. The regional Victoria average was 142.7c a litre.

Regional areas Benalla, Ballarat, Traralgon, Bendigo, Wodonga, Shepparton, Moe, Geelong and Morwell were below the metropolitan average.

For premium unleaded, Maidstone was the cheapest metropolitan location at 146.2c and Kingsville was the priciest at 165.9c.

Broadmeadows had the cheapest suburban diesel at 141.8c, and Fawkner the most expensive at 156.9c.

Mr Case said motorists could save on fuel bills by checking prices online and shopping around before filling up.

Melbourne’s average unleaded petrol price on Tuesday afternoon was 133.3c a litre. The lowest monitored price on the RACV website was 124.9c, and the highest was 149.9c.

Extracted from Daily Telegraph