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NSW, Victorian regional drivers reaping rewards of cheaper petrol prices

Regional Australians have enjoyed - in general - a reversal of fortunes at the petrol bowser during the coronavirus pandemic, with regional drivers in some cases currently better off than their city counterparts.

The competition watchdog's latest report on fuel prices shows the trend continued for a fifth quarter on the latest data, released on Friday.

Across the board, regional drivers have fared better, the ACCC said in its September quarter edition on its Report on the Australian petroleum market:

The report noted that Adelaide motorists were best off out of all capital cities:

"In the September quarter 2021, average retail prices in Adelaide were 145.3 cpl, the lowest of all capital cities. This was the second consecutive quarter in which Adelaide had the lowest average prices.
"The introduction of the South Australian fuel price transparency scheme on 20 March 2021, which provides motorists with access to real-time fuel price information, may have had an impact on Adelaide prices. The pattern of petrol price cycles in Adelaide has changed since the scheme commenced, as shown in the following chart.

In New South Wales, towns like Wagga, Deniliquin, Jerilderie and Griffith in the Riverina have all paid less per litre than metropolitan-based drivers for the last five quarters.

Sydney residents were paying 143.6 cents per litre for petrol in June this year, with a rise of 10.9 cents per litre coming in the last quarter.

In contrast, residents in Griffith – a town that has statistically benefited from low fuel prices more than most this year - paid 136.5 cents per litre back in June, seeing a rise of 9.1 cents in the last quarter with locals there now coughing up 145.6 cents per litre.

In Wagga, residents were paying 142.1 cents per litre in June and are now paying 154.2 cents per litre, marginally less than Sydney residents.

In Deniliquin locals paid 141.8 cents per litre in June and are now being charged 152.5 cents per litre and are still better off than city-based motorists.

Fuel was also cheap in Jerilderie in June, costing drivers there 136.8 cents per litre in June and now costing 150.2 cents per litre.

The same cannot be said for the state of South Australia, where in most cases regional motorists continue to be slugged more per litre than drivers in Adelaide.

For the quarter, Keith prices rose 9.4c in the September quarter, second best in regional SA to Port Lincoln (+5.4) and head of Loxton (+9.6) and Ceduna (+9.9). Tailem Bend prices rose the most over the quarter, up 11.3 cents. However, prices in all regional SA locations were ahead of Adelaide prices, with Naracoorte (5.9c difference) only behind Victor Harbor and Whyalla for having the highest differential.

In Victoria, there is inconsistent data between the capital of Melbourne and Victorian regions, though many regional towns there still enjoy a far better deal for fuel than Melbourne-based residents.

For the quarter, Colac prices were 9.1c lower than Melbourne prices, Mildura 10.2c less and Warrnambool 13.5c less.


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