Petrol prices hit 6-month high for consumers

By Sandra Conchie


Fuel prices have reached a six-month high rising 11 cents a litre in a fortnight but motorists can save at least 4 cents a litre at the pump if they shop around.

After increasing 4 cents on January 31, petrol prices climbed another 7 cents a litre last month to reach an average price of $2.21 per litre in the main centres.

When the Bay of Plenty Times surveyed prices at a number of petrol stations along Cameron Rd yesterday, BP Gate Pa, Caltex in Greerton, Mobil 10th Ave and Z in 11th Ave were all charging $2.20.9 a litre of unleaded 91, and $155.9 a litre of diesel.

Whereas Gull in Hewletts Rd and the Mobil Causeway station in Chapel St were both charging $2.16.9 and $150.9 for diesel.

Independent petrol station Waimapu Garage in Oropi Rd was charging $2.18.9 a litre for 91.

A Mobil Causeway staff member said the station was proud to be one of the cheapest in town.

Mount Maunganui accountant Mike Powell, 63, and his wife were filling up a Mobil Causeway yesterday afternoon.

Mr Powell said he and his wife owned two vehicles - a Toyota Corolla 1600 and a two-litre vehicle, but tended to use their smaller car and car-pool as much as possible.

Mr Powell said he could not understand why there was a big variation in prices.

When he filled up in Rotorua last week the price was 16 cents cheaper than in Tauranga, he said.

"We are not happy with the prices constantly going up. We usually fill up in Mount Maunganui but we shopped around today ... and clearly this station is much cheaper than most. We also came here because we could redeem our New World fuel discount voucher," he said.

Independent Tauranga petrol station owner Wayne Sowry said there has been a petrol-price war going on in Rotorua for well over 12 months.

Another motorist at Mobil Causeway said the petrol hikes had hit her so hard she no longer used her car as much and often cycled or walked.

"I can't remember when I last completely filled my Toyota Corolla. I can only afford $10 a time now. If I did fill up it would cost $90 to $95, whereas a few months ago it was $75 to $80," she said.

Waimapu Garage owners Wayne Sowry and his wife Deidre on Oropi Rd upped their price about a week-and half-a go from $2.12.

"We are doing our level best to keep our fuel prices down. It's all part of looking after our customers, most of whom are locals. Our supplier is Gull and they are quite competitive price wise and they tend to keep their supply prices down far longer than the other suppliers."

Meanwhile, major supermarket chains are also offering fuel discounts.

The Foodstuffs fuel scheme which covers participating New World and Pak N' Save stores usually offer a standard fuel discount of 4c a litre if shoppers spend at least $40.

This weekend New World is offering shoppers 35c per litre discount if they spend over $200 while Countdown is offering 30c off per litre for spending the same amount.

AA Petrol Watch spokesperson Mark Stockdale said the imported cost of petrol rose 11 cents per litre, and diesel 7 cents between January 18 and February 13 - the highest price since August last year which is just two cents shy of the highest price ever recorded.

Diesel prices also rose 5 cents to finish on $1.55 per litre at most service stations, some 37 cents below the record diesel price in July 2008.

Mr Stockdale said despite the strong exchange rate, retail prices rose sharply due to increasing commodity prices, with crude oil prices reaching their highest level since April 2012.

"The last time oil prices were this high, we were paying $2.20 per litre for petrol, when the Kiwi dollar was worth 82 US cents and taxes were 2 cents lower.

"At current commodity prices, the fuel companies' importer margins have risen above average, so the AA would expect retailers to cut pump prices shortly," he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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