Some Northlanders are paying Auckland petrol prices even though there is a 10 cent per litre regional fuel tax in that city.
Prices in Whangārei yesterday ranged from $2.40 a litre to $2.25.9. People in Taipa paid the highest in Northland at $2.48.9, while the cheapest was in Paihia, at $2.21.9.
Whangārei man Gerald Parry, who returned only yesterday from Britain, said he heard while he was away about petrol going up but was still surprised at the hike.
Everyone in Northland will feel the bite of the high prices but especially the ''working poor'' and beneficiaries, Budgeting Whangārei co-ordinator Diane Clarke said.
''I'm working with a woman, for example, who just won't be able to afford the new petrol price. Every time she takes her car out it will cost her another $10.''
Clarke said the people who would be worst hit could least afford newer, fuel-efficient vehicles. Another cost linked to fuel prices was likely to be increases on goods coming to Northland by road because of the higher transport cost.
A Dargaville Methodist minister and former bank manager, Rex Nathan, said last week he saw an Auckland station selling petrol for only 4c a litre more than the same company selling it in Dargaville.
''And that was with Auckland's regional road tax on top.''
Nathan said people in rural Northland would feel the pinch. For some in Kaipara, Dargaville, with the nearest fuel outlets, was an hour's drive.
''The ones on low incomes, wherever they live, are going to suffer greatly. It's going to be hard for many families to take their children to the doctor or to sports.
''Finding an extra 10 cents or more for a litre of petrol is just impossible when you simply don't have it.''
Former Kaitaia police officer Trevor Beatson said the petrol prices in the Far North had always been high.
''Obviously that's because of the cost of supplying it this far but it's now definitely going to be felt.
''We are spending a lot of money at the pump and while the excises are going up on every litre we buy, we're not seeing any benefits on the roads. The roads up here are terrible and that adds to the cots of running a car.''
Meanwhile, calls are growing for people to boycott some companies even if it meant driving extra kilometres to buy fuel. A Facebook campaign claims a nationwide boycott of one petrol company would force it to drop its prices to get consumers back.
Other companies would then drop prices to match, the campaigners claim.
Oil company Z Energy's chief executive Mike Bennetts acknowledged that consumers felt hard hit by fuel prices and wanted assurance that prices were fair and the market was competitive.
Bennetts said a Commerce Commission market study announced by the Government would be objective.
Current pump prices have been driven up by increasing crude oil costs, a weakening exchange rate and additional taxes, not Z's profit margin, Bennetts said.
The price of 91 octane at some Northland outlets yesterday, using the app Gaspy:
Wellsford - $2.27.9
Kaiwaka - $2.28.9
Paihia - $2.21.9
Ruatangata - $2.25.9
Kaitaia - $2.44.9
Kaeo - $2.37.9
Kerikeri - $2.33.9
Taipa - $2.48.9
Dargaville - $2.42.9