Fuel bargains are drying up as school holiday makers plan for a bumper driving-holiday season. See the 12 cheapest places to fuel up.

With unprecedented numbers of South Australians opting for a Covid-safe school holiday drive, petrol price bargains are getting harder to find.

But real-time internet pricing has driven a deep division between retailers, and bargains can still be found online.

Based on the RAA fuel app, the cheapest prices by Friday midafternoon were already at more than 140c/L.

Along with the RAA app, four other developers have taken up the chance to use state government data to put into the marketplace; Pumped, Petrol Spy, Fuel Price Australia and Motor Mouth.

RAA spokesman Mark Borlace said almost four months after the state government began making data available to app developers, a much wider spread in prices had become evident in the South Australian market.

“The real-time fuel pricing availability has changed the market in ways we haven’t seen before, most importantly a greater spread of prices even during the peaks,’’ he said.

“In a recent peak several sites ignored and missed the peak altogether and stayed at their lower price and carried that through the spike.

“Today we have a funny mix also, so although the current average for unleaded is 149c/L, there is a spread from 126c/L to 159c/L, so there is large room for bargain hunting.”

Mr Borlace said school holiday makers could expect similar prices in Adelaide and larger country outlets as they set off for a driving holiday.

If you are heading at Lower Light the unleaded price was 132c/L so that would be as cheap as anywhere in Adelaide,’’ he said.

“What we do think though is if you are coming back from holidays in a week or so you will be better off filling up when you get home in Adelaide.

Highest price spike prices in the last four months of app operation had not dropped significantly, but Mr Borlace said there had been a 10 per cent increase for retailers in the cost of wholesale fuel at the same time.

Mr Borlace said the new phenomenon of wide-price variance even after majors had spiked to their maximum was likely experimentation within the industry.

“We think that is people trying it on to work out under the new system who will spike and who won’t,’’ he said.

This is also shown in the staggered reduction in the graph rather than an even gradient in the graph.

“Someone either didn’t get the price email, or people are testing out the market given the new conditions.”

Extracted in full from: SA petrol: Best school holiday deals | The Advertiser (adelaidenow.com.au)