Regional South Australians are paying up to 32.2c a litre more for petrol than Adelaide motorists, RAA analysis shows.

The price gouging is despite transport and holding costs to almost every part of the state being only 8c a litre.

The RAA is able to track fuel prices via its app which maps state government fuel price data updated ever 30 minutes.

In Adelaide the average unleaded price so far this year at 308 sites had been 181.7c a litre.

But rural and regional motorists are paying far more. In Ceduna it was 185.3c a litre, Gawler 184.3c a litre, Kangaroo Island, 213.9c a litre, Mount Barker 184.6c a litre, Mount Gambier 180.6c a litre, Murray Bridge 176.5c a litre, Naracoorte 187.0c a litre, Port Augusta 187.7c a litre, Port Pirie 182.3c a litre Renmark 186.1c a litre, Victor Harbour 184.9c a litre and Whyalla 185.9c a litre.

Unleaded petrol prices have been cut this month as international pressures ease. but the RAA has warned the price will jump by up to 25c a litre when the Federal Government reinstates the full fuel tax at the end of August.

RAA fuel expert Mark Borlace said even though many lived in cities and towns, on average country south Australians drove 14,000 every year compared to the average of 12,000 in Adelaide.

He said fuel prices often reflected local market conditions like a lack of competition, rather than distance to truck fuel to the area.

“Port Lincoln (recording the highest mainland average so far this year of 187.8c a litre), but they have a port there,’’ he said.

“But look at Mt Gambier. It is one of the most distant cities and yet had an average of 180.6c a litre because it has 17 players there. That is a very active market.”

Mr Borlace said he often appeared on radio stations in the regions and complaints from locals who had to cut back on their vehicle use were common.

“We provide advice where we can like if you are going to another town to play footy on the weekend always ask your mates if you can car pool,’’ he said.

“Always check the RAA app if you are going near or through somewhere with cheaper prices because there are big variations.

“Public transport doesn’t exist in some places and people are dependent on their cars.”

More than 150 Advertiser readers from the regions responded to our request to tell their stories on the newspaper’s Facebook page.

Many who are already driving many kilometres to work have cut back on discretionary driving trips.

Gavin Martin with his diesel Holden Colorado. Picture: Mark Brake

Diesels costs driving Gavin mad

While many regional petrol-vehicle drivers have received some respite from petrol prices skyrocketing north of $2 a litre, the same cannot be said for those on diesel. Most are still being slugged with prices over 220c a litre.

As a purchasing officer with a Roseworthy livestock feed company, Gavin Martin (pictured) does most of his driving outside Adelaide and has a diesel bill of $700 a month. “I try to keep my travel to only essential travel,’’ he said.

“But with my kids’ sport we travel big distances. There have been some events that we would normally travel to that we haven’t gone to due to the price diesel is because we haven’t been able to afford it. And we generally tighten spending because diesel is the third biggest expense in my budget.”

Mr Martin of Davoren Park drives a Holden Colorado, and said the high diesel price was another rip off.

“I just don’t understand right now how the petrol drops but diesel rises more and more,’’ he said. “It seems like diesel cat drivers are paying for the money that service stations are losing out from the petrol drivers. One week the unleaded petrol price fell from 199c a litre down to 175c while the price of diesel dropped 2c from 227c a litre to 225c a litre.”

Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Mariuz

Fuel prices no barrier to SA travel

Rising petrol prices have not stopped South Australians exploring their grand backyard with average regional occupancy figures in June on par with June 2021 levels – the best June result on record and the seventh consecutive month to break records.

Accommodation occupancy in regional South Australia was 56 per cent in June 2022, well above the pre-Covid June 2019 result of 48 per cent.

All regions, with the exception of the Fleurieu and KI, continued to perform above pre-Covid levels of occupancy.

Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison said June is traditionally the quietest month for most regions.

“We’ve got more domestic and international flights coming in, and there’s a growing consumer trend to splurge on travel and make up for lost time, so to have stronger June regional occupancy than at the same time last year is a great outcome for tourism,” she said.

“We anticipate conditions to strengthen as we come out of winter. Prior to Covid, the quietest month of June was followed by four months of consistent growth, so that gives us increasing confidence we’re on the right path.”

Eyre Peninsula regional tourism manager Annabelle Hender said the area had enjoyed two years of record visits despite pandemic disruptions.

“While visitation in winter is lower than other seasons, the outlook for summer is very positive, with forward bookings exceeding levels of previous years,” she said.

“The rising cost of fuel is impacting tour operators with increasing operating costs, but the long-term impact of fuel prices on demand for driving holidays remains to be seen. The Eyre Peninsula will continue to appeal to visitors seeking a convenient and affordable holiday.”

Mim Ward, regional tourism manager for the Clare Valley, said the area had been busy over the school holidays.

“It’s been great to see visitors coming back, and even more positive that there have been plenty of interstate vehicles in the region,” she said. “Winter is a magic time to be in the valley, with a glass of red and sitting around a fire.”

Fleurieu Peninsula regional tourism manager Dylan Beach said operators are still reporting relatively strong bookings.

“The cost of fuel is impacting tour operators, and also venues with increasing operating costs, but the accessibility of the Fleurieu means the impact of fuel prices on demand for driving holidays remains to be seen,” he said.

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