Regional fuel prices not falling fast enough: RACV

A fuel board near Bendigo on Tuesday.AN RACV manager has called on fuel retailers in regional centres such as Bendigoto stop dragging the chain in passing on the benefits of falling world oil prices to motorists.

RACVmanager vehicle engineeringMichael Case said adropin the retailprice of unleaded petrolin regional Victoria to reflect fallingworld oil pricesshould have happened sooner.

Bendigo motoristshave been payinghigher fuel prices thanmotorists inplaces such asGeelong,Melbourne and Sydney in recent days.

Whilefuel was sitting at126.3cents a litre at one Bendigo outlet on Tuesday, prices in Melbourne varied between112.7 cents and 114.9 centsa litre.

Mr Case saida service station in Bendigo charging126.3cents a litre would be”reasonablegivencurrentcircumstances” but that further drops across the board were needed.

“You’d be hoping others would be on their way down…to really be providing fuel at right price relative to current prices in Melbourne and Geelong,” he said.

Mr Case said fuel prices should havebeen getting lower and lower over the pastthree monthsdue to thefallin world oil prices.

Hesaid Melbourne had not experienced unleaded fuel prices of114 cents alitrefor at least four years.

“There’s been aprogressive reduction in retail fuel prices for last almost three months, (but)we’ve seen a slower decrease in retail prices in regional areas,” he said.

Mr Casesaid price dropshad also been quite variable between regional centres.

”Our major concern is that regional centres have not been following the price down quickly enough,” he said.

Mr Case said significant variancesbetween nearby regional centres which could not be related to transport or supply costs were also concerning.

“There are some variances between nearby regional centres which relate to differences in local competition,” he said.

“It’s our view prices should have come down more quickly to alevel closer inprice toMelbourne.”

He saidadditional factors were at play inGeelong, Sydney and Adelaidewhere Coles hadcapped theprice of unleaded petrol between December 22 and January 4.

“I do not recall ever seeing a (fuel)company doing this before,” he said.

“It is good news for motorists in the sense they can be certain of fuel prices over this period.”

Mr Case said he did not know why Coles had chosen the three specific sitesto cap prices.

He said Melbourne prices hovering betweenbetween 112.7 and 114.9were areflection ofGeelong’s cappedprices.

“It’s very close to the price capped in Geelong, it says Melbourne prices are following Geelong,” he said.

He said Coles was not expected tochange their prices untilnext Sunday, ensuring priceswould remain at the lower end of the fuelcycle,where they had been falling to forabout 12 weeks.

“It’s the most unusual circumstances, butgreat news for motorists,” he said.

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