Maitland and Muswellbrook had the cheapest average unleaded petrol prices in regional NSW on Wednesday, but there was a 22c/l spread in the cost of fuel in Newcastle, according to NRMA.

The average price was 109.7c/l at Maitland – down 0.1c/l from the same time the previous week – and 110c/l at Muswellbrook.

Singleton had a 2.5c/l week-on-week drop to 120c/l and Newcastle’s average was 124.6c/l.

NRMA spokesperson Rebecca Page told the Newcastle Herald that prices had been “very stable” in regional NSW over the Christmas-New Year period, with the Hunter experiencing slow drops in some areas.

She said motorists filling their tanks in the Hunter had been slightly better off than other regional parts of the state.

“If anything, it’s comparatively good news for motorists in Newcastle and the Hunter,” Ms Page said.

“There are no signs to show these prices will be increasing [in the coming weeks] – if anything they should be decreasing.

“What we do believe is they should be decreasing more rapidly than they are.”

Ms Page said it was important for motorists to shop around and not encourage service station owners who were charging significantly more for fuel than their competitors in the same town, in light of a 22c/l spread between the cheapest and most expensive unleaded petrol on sale in Newcastle on Wednesday – from 119c/l to 141c/l in the city.

“It’s a huge gap. You could save up to $15 a tank in an average family car depending on which end of town you want to shop in,” she said.

“There’s really no excuse not to [shop around] unless you just want to throw your money down the drain.

“They’ve got no reason to drop their prices if they’ve got those consumers walking through the door. If you’re giving them what they want, they’ll continue to do it. But if you take the opposite approach and use a bit of consumer power and head over to those cheaper servos, then those retailers with the high prices have no option but to follow and drop their prices as well.

“The power is in the hands of the motorists. If they want to see cheaper prices at the bowser, then only shop at those cheaper servos – it’s as simple as that.”

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