Don Bratton has been watching fuel prices creep up with mounting alarm.
Don Bratton has been watching fuel prices creep up with mounting alarm. Emma Channon

Fuel prices hit the pocket

ROSE City petrol stations are coming under the pump from frustrated motorists, who are asking why they are paying more per litre than their northern neighbours under an hour's drive away.

Fuel watchdog MotorMouth revealed Warwick's average fuel price was 146.2 cents last week – almost eight cents dearer than Toowoomba.

Warwick's average price was also higher than Goondiwindi's, which is two hours further west of the oil distribution companies in Brisbane.

Brisbane itself averaged 143 cents a litre.

While fuel prices continue to rise nationally, Warwick motorists have had to be savvy with their car usage and where they choose to refuel.

Tenterfield resident Don Brattan visits the Rose City each month for a spot of shopping and has noticed a marked increase in prices for the two states.

“I generally fuel up at Wallangarra, because it's a couple of cents cheaper there than in New South Wales,” he said.

“Today I noticed it's more expensive this side of the border though.”

The 79-year-old drives a 2.6 litre vehicle and said while it helped his petrol usage stay down, he was still aware of how much he could spend.

“This car's pretty good. If I had anything heavier then I'd be in trouble,” Mr Brattan said.

“The higher prices do affect us, but I try and budget and reduce spending somewhere else. If it gets any dearer I'll be coming (to Warwick) a lot more often.”

The Daily News contacted BP yesterday to seek an answer for varying prices between Warwick and Toowoomba.

In their response, a spokesman said many fuel stations were in fact independently owned.

“Of the 1400 BP-branded service stations around Australia, the company owns and operates around 240,” the spokesman said.

“These sites are almost exclusively found in the major cities and only at these sites does BP set the prices of fuel.

“The remaining 1160 sites (thereabouts) are owned by third parties and it is the owners of these sites who make pricing decisions.”

A Caltex spokesman said fuel pricing in regional areas was influenced by a range of factors such as higher freight costs.

“Competition tends to be more intense in major urban areas because of the density of population and traffic,” he said.

“Sales volumes at regional petrol stations are often lower than at city petrol stations so overheads and operating costs per litre tend to be higher at country sites.”

The spokesman said it was difficult to accurately gauge the reasons for price differences and that similar to BP, Caltex did not set the price of any service stations in Warwick.

“Prices are set by each operator,” he said.

“These service stations buy fuel at a wholesale price and add a retail margin to cover additional costs such as rent, running the shop, electricity, staff wages and equipment maintenance.”

The spokesman said all Caltex fuel in Warwick was sourced from Brisbane, but sometimes it could go via a depot or terminal closer to town.

The Daily News asked our Facebook fans their thoughts about petrol prices, with five people saying “they're out of control”, four people saying they had noticed an increase lately and one person saying they could be worse.

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Fuel prices

The average for unleaded fuel last week:

Warwick: 146.2c/L

Brisbane: 143c/L

Toowoomba: 138.4c/L

Goondiwindi: 145.6c/L

Kingaroy: 144.1c/L

Dalby: 145.3c/L

Miles: 155.9c/L

Roma: 146.8c/L

(Source: MotorMouth)

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