Our petrol prices ‘consistently higher than they should be’

PETROL prices on the Northern Rivers are going down, but a very slow pace, and drivers are not getting a great deal at the bowser.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said Northern NSW prices are going down at a very slow pace.

On Wednesday, he said, the average price of regular unleaded petrol in Lismore was 128.5c, 124.4c in Ballina, 113.8c in Byron Bay, 120.4c in Casino and 120c in Kyogle. These prices are still much above the average Sydney price of 93c for regular unleaded and 82c wholesale.

The NRMA spokesman said that up to Monday April 20, regular unleaded petrol prices in Lismore had only decreased by 18c since the coronavirus pandemic started, while Sydney has recorded a reduction of 34c in the same period, Byron Bay prices went down by 34c and even Kyogle saw a reduction of 28c.

Mr Khoury said this issue has nothing to do with geography and the fact the area is far from metropolitan fuel distribution centres.

"This is about the way the local service stations have decided to charge more in those locations, and unfortunately, the North Coast has always been a problem in that regard," he said.

"In that area, petrol is consistently higher than it should be.

"The NRMA has in many occasion called the North Coast an area of concern, even before the coronavirus.

"These record fuel price falls have not been passed on," he said.

Mr Khoury said petrol prices are set to continue falling.

"What we want to start seeing is regional areas, and in particular the North Coast, for those price falls to be passed on to motorists."

Meanwhile, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) cautioned the petrol industry on Wednesday.

"In the larger Australian capital cities, petrol retailers took too long to pass on the savings from the rapid drop in international oil prices," ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

"This did not reflect well on them."

The watchdog said international crude oil prices had decreased by around $US50 per barrel since the beginning of the year.

Petrol prices in NSW can be checked daily via checkfuelcheck.nsw.gov.au.