PETROL prices have been slashed in Leongatha in the wake of the opening of United Petroleum’s new outlet in the town.

When United opened its station last Tuesday on the South Gippsland Highway, its pump price was 16 cents a litre cheaper than its competitors, the two BP outlets and the Woolworths petrol station.

United opened at 131.9 cents per litre for unleaded fuel against a price of 147.9 at other outlets.

Within a short time, the BP outlets slashed their price by eight cents a litre to139.9 cents a litre, while Woolworths cut its bouser price to 132.8.

It has been a long time since any of the town’s petrol stations varied in price, but the arrival of United may signal that fluctuations and variations between the outlets may become more frequent.

The Star contacted the owner of the two BP outlets in Leongatha, managing director Stuart Evans, who said competition is not a new thing for him as it existed in other towns where he has service stations in Traralgon, Sale and Wonthaggi, to name a few.

He admitted the arrival of United would shake things up for the short term.

“People will see cheaper prices for a time as that company tries to grab some of the market share,” Mr Evans said.

“But I believe this will even itself up over time. It’s a bit like water, it will find its own level over time.”

He said the same thing happened when Woolworths opened in Leongatha and everyone thought it would be the start of cheaper prices but this didn’t end up being the case.

Bairnsdale generally has the cheapest prices for petrol throughout the state.

Melbourne prices go through cycles; currently it can go as low as 129.90 cents but at the top of the cycle, as recently at the weekend, there were pockets of 155.9 cents per litre.

But motorists in Leongatha are still enjoying the benefits.

A check of prices at service stations in Leongatha between Friday and yesterday saw Evans two BP outlets sitting at 139.9 for unleaded, and Woolworths and United at 125.9; currently a 14 cents differential.

Based on the 14 cents gap, a tank of 50 litres would cost $69.95 at Evans or $62.95 at Woolworths or United, a $7 difference.

Extracted from The Star