Residents in outer regions of Sydney hit hardest by rising petrol prices
By Sourced Externally
March 27, 2022
Petrol prices are so high in Sydney, Rebecca Matanale says she might have to leave her car in the car park because it is “too expensive to take anywhere”.
People in the outer regions of Sydney are feeling the bite of rising petrol prices the most, making them think twice about how they travel — or if a trip is worth the cost at all.
The price of petrol in NSW has gone up 52 per cent in the last 12 months, according to Fuel Watch NSW.
Fuel prices rose more last year than in any year since 1990, according to the ABS.
Since then, the cost of petrol has continued to climb, driven by rising global fuel prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The average price of unleaded has been more than $2 a litre since March 11, according to the NSW government’s Fuel Check portal.
Some service stations have been selling unleaded at $2.30 a litre.
Ms Matanale, a 42-year-old from Wahroonga on the upper north shore, is having to seriously consider if trips in her economical Mazda 2 are worth the cost of fuel.
Paying a mortgage on her own and other bills are squeezing her finances.
She said about 90 per cent of her wage goes on bills.
She fills up petrol in increments of $25, she says, to make sure she will have some money at the end of the month.
“This is just the latest bill shock,” Ms Matanale said.
“It really is a, ‘let’s rethink what we’re going to do’ because no one wants to fill up a full tank of petrol to go somewhere and then fill it up when they get back.
“I’m just going to leave the car in the car park because it’s too expensive to take anywhere.”
The NRMA boils the rising prices down to two reasons: a surge in demand that’s not being met with supply following the pandemic, and sanctions being placed on Russia — the world’s second-largest exporter of oil — in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
“We have not seen [petrol prices] like this in modern history,” Peter Khoury, head of media at NRMA, said.
“We didn’t just break records, we absolutely smashed them.”
Price rises at the bowser impact all drivers, but do not impact them equally, Mr Khoury said.
Bearing the greatest brunt are farmers, people who live in the outer suburbs, where gaps in public transport infrastructure compel them to drive to work; and people from low socio-economic areas who can’t afford newer, more economical cars.
“What we know is this: whenever prices go up, the people who can afford it the least are often the ones most exposed to it,” he said.
“About 16 per cent — about a fifth — of the family budget is going towards transport costs.
“And every time petrol prices go up … more of that gets eaten up.”
Amandeep Dhaliwal’s weekly diesel bill totalled about $105 this time last year, but now he pays $161 at the bowser.
“I can’t continue like this if the fuel prices remain the same,” he said.
“I have to do something.”
Like many people living in Sydney’s outer suburbs, his commute to work is long — an 85 kilometre round trip from the north-east suburb Glenwood to Alexandria in the inner-west.
He’s thinking about taking his weekend motorcycle instead to save money, even though it’s a riskier way to travel.
“I almost use the motorbike every month, but now I have to seriously consider this as my mode of transport if the fuel prices stay the same,” he said.