Wellingtonians are hurting at the pump more than those in Auckland - despite the lack of a regional fuel tax in the capital.

Even though Aucklanders are paying a fuel tax, they are still better off paying for their petrol than people in Wellington.

No real competition appeared to be the sole reason for the difference in prices, said Automobile Association (AA) petrol prices spokesman Mark Stockdale.

"Prices in Wellington have traditionally been higher than many parts of the North Island including Auckland," Stockdale said.


There seemed to be more competition in Auckland, allowing their lowest fuel price today to be $2.15 per litre of 91.

Meanwhile in Wellington, the highest price was 20 cents more than that at $2.35.

Stockdale said big petrol companies would not cut their prices in the capital "as they don't have a no-frills brand in their neighbourhood".

"They haven't seen the need to compete on price."

That may soon change, with low-cost brand Waitomo recently opening an unmanned station in Upper Hutt. Today the price there was $2.06 for 91.

They have announced plans to open another station in Wellington city, and Gull has also said it will be opening a station in the city too.

Once those stations are in place, Wellington people may start to see the prices come down like they have in Auckland.

Stockdale said it should be expected that all port cities would have a similar fuel price, as the fuel did not have to go far to be offered to customers, but Wellington was different because it currently only had large companies selling petrol.


"No-frills" brands could afford to charge less because they were unstaffed, pay-at-pump stations and did not have as large overheads as others.

"That's something that Wellington has missed out on for many years, but fortunately that is now changing.

"The question that Wellington motorists have been asking is why haven't companies like Gull come to the Wellington market, what's been stopping them?

"Whatever has stopped them in the past no longer appears to be the case."

Spokesman for fuel price watchdog Gaspy Larry Green said today's national average price was $2.26 - nine cents below Wellington's top price. The Wellington region's average was $2.28, but that included the Waitomo station in Upper Hutt.

Green said big oil companies were "not giving much of a toss" about consumers.

He said they should be "more transparent" about their pricing instead of making "superficial excuses".