Hawke's Bay drivers are starting to breathe easy after petrol prices have begun to slide - just in time for Christmas.

AA has welcomed the drop saying it couldn't come at a better time when more Kiwis traditionally hopped in their cars and headed away during the traditional summer holiday period.

The lowest price recorded in Hastings went to Gull with 91 priced at $1.99.

BP in Hastings recorded prices of $2.01 for 91 and $1.459 for diesel and Z in Havelock North and Hastings recorded prices of $2.02 for 91 and $1.45 for diesel.


Chairman and national councillor for AA Hawke's Bay Paul Michaelsen said the drop was to do with the lower commodity prices and exchange rate.

"Last year we saw prices go up over Christmas and this year it looks like they're coming down, so it's just perfect for those who are travelling."

AA principal adviser Mark Stockdale said although it was hard to predict, if it followed the same trend of previous years then it was possible that the price could fall below $2 during the summer months.

"If that trend is typical and it has been over the past few years then yes the signs are that prices will continue to stay down through the summer period and may even fall just in time for our busy holiday driving season.

He said the price drop couldn't have come at a better time.

"Low fuel prices couldn't come at a better time than when a lot of Kiwis are going to be out on the road over the Christmas New Year break on their summer holidays. I mean that's when people are buying more fuel and they are going on long trips - that's when $2.50 would have been a disaster and it would have had a really negative impact on a lot of Kiwis' holiday plans."

Earlier this year there was a public outcry at the high petrol prices in Hawke's Bay and across the country

Gull price analyst Rohan Mehtha said since then, the commodity prices have continued to drop.

"The NZ dollar is performing well against the USA and that really helps when we're buying in an international market because we import fuel directly.

"We were looking at $2.25 at one stage in early October and now we're under $2 at the moment in some places. We also run further discounting from week to week and of course the Gull in Mayfair is below the $2 mark."