Coffs Harbour has paid some of the highest petrol prices in NSW since December.
Coffs Harbour has paid some of the highest petrol prices in NSW since December. Caboolture News

Coffs Harbour plundered at the petrol pumps

WHY are petrol prices on the Coffs Coast among the highest in New South Wales?

Under a weight of letters, online comments, social media posts and even classified ads, Advocate readers have challenged major fuel companies to explain why we are regularly fleeced up to 25 cents a litre more at the bowser than Sydney motorists.

Hoping to force change and relieve pressure on tight family budgets, the Advocate is running a social media campaign to help you find the cheapest fuel each day.

With Kempsey, Grafton and even far- flung outposts like Broken Hill offering fairer fuel prices than Coffs Harbour, questions have been raised over possible collusion in the local market and whether the ACCC should investigate.

NRMA Motoring Services president Wendy Machin certainly wonders why dips in oil prices are passed on in more competitive markets like Lismore and not Coffs Harbour.

"It really makes you wonder. Coffs Harbour certainly has enough competition, has reasonable volume sales and a number of independent operators in the market," Ms Machin said.

"The major fuel companies are notoriously quiet in explaining how they set their prices, but in saying that the ACCC has the power to make inquiries with those companies when it looks like predatory pricing is going on.

"Perhaps the best way to influence petrol prices is by people power and the NRMA fully supports the Advocate making a stand and running a campaign telling motorists where to get the cheapest fuel in Coffs Harbour."

Since December, the NRMA has charted average weekly fuel prices for Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Kempsey and Grafton for comparison and the evidence is conclusive.

 

RIPPED OFF: The Coffs Coast flat-lining in the NRMA’s comparisons.
RIPPED OFF: The Coffs Coast flat-lining in the NRMA’s comparisons.

Over the past week for instance, average unleaded prices were 137.7c in Sydney; 140.6c in Lismore; 142.8c in Grafton; 147.4c in Kempsey; 152.1c in Coffs Harbour and 152.8c in Woolgoolga.

Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said petrol pricing in Coffs Harbour is a complete mystery.

"I have written to the petrol commissioner on multiple occasions asking why we as residents are paying more than we should and I have never received a satisfactory answer as to why this is the case," Mr Hartsuyker said.

Calling Federal Labor's Fuel Watch campaign a hoax on Australian voters, Mr Hartsuyker pondered what change a Coalition Government could bring after the September election.

"Well unlike Labor in 2007 we won't be saying the government can influence prices," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"Clearly there is a need, how- ever, for the Federal Government to work with the ACCC to ensure there is transparency.

"In the Coffs Harbour market the price of fuel doesn't appear to be influenced by the cost of freight - the distance in prices does not reflect the distance from the refineries."

NRMA BOWSER BUSTER (Comparing 52 locations on fuel prices in NSW and ACT)

 

Week ending May 12

Change in rank

Location

ULP

Rank

+/-

Moama

129.7

1

↑1

Tweed Heads South

129.9

2

↑3

Central Coast

136.6

3

↑1

Sydney

137.7

4

↓3

Murwillumbah

137.9

5

↑5

Newcastle

139.7

6

↓1

Wollongong

140.2

7

↓4

Lismore

140.6

8

↔0

Casino

140.9

9

↔0

Grafton

142.8

10

↑1

Orange

143.7

11

↑3

Albury

144.9

12

↑1

Buronga

144.9

13

↓1

Singleton

144.9

14

↑4

Bulahdelah

145.9

15

↑11

Moruya

145.9

16

↓1

Deniliquin

146.4

17

↑2

Griffith

146.4

18

↑3

West Wyalong

146.9

19

↑16

Kempsey

147.4

20

↓4

Cooma

147.7

21

↑17

Moree

148.2

22

↓5

Muswellbrook

148.2

23

↓3

Dubbo

148.9

24

↓2

Leeton

148.9

25

↑15

Moss Vale

148.9

26

↓20

Temora

149.2

27

↓3

Canberra

149.3

28

↑20

Hay

149.4

29

↑2

Inverell

149.5

30

↓7

Broken Hill

149.6

31

↓6

Forbes

149.9

32

↓5

Goulburn

149.9

33

↓5

Gundagai

149.9

34

↓5

Gunnedah

   

↓5

Nowra

149.9

36

↓4

Parkes

   

↓4

Wauchope

149.9

38

↓4

Forster

150.9

39

↑4

Bega

151.9

40

↓4

Coffs Harbour

152.1

41

↓4

Woolgoolga

152.8

42

↑4

Bathurst

152.9

43

↓4

Tamworth

152.9

44

↑1

Wagga Wagga

152.9

45

↓4

Yass

153.1

46

↑1

Cootamundra

153.9

47

↑2

Port Macquarie

153.9

48

↓4

Mudgee

154.2

49

↓7

Taree

154.9

50

↔0

Lithgow

155.9

51

↔0

Tumut

156.5

52

↔0



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