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Fuel firms blame demand for petrol hikes

Last updated 12:20 11/02/2013

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Fuel retailers across the country have started hiking prices at the pump, saying rising international demand and tight supplies are pushing costs higher.

On Friday, Mobil hiked the price of petrol by 4 cents a litre and diesel by 2c, and is currently charging $2.179 per litre of 91 octane, and $1.519 per litre of diesel. Z Energy has matched those prices at the pump.

Gull lifted prices by between 2c and 3c a litre at its stations, and is charging between $2.06 and $2.15 for a litre of 91 Octane, while diesel is selling at between $1.46 and $1.49 a litre.

All three retailers said refined fuel costs had been steadily rising since the beginning of the year and those costs were now being passed onto customers.

"Refined prices have been climbing slowly, a dollar or two every day," said Graham Stirk, head of retail at Gull. "I think it is a question of demand everywhere, and when demand increases it takes time for production to catch up."

Rising raw fuel prices were initially offset by gains in the New Zealand dollar, but the currency has stabilised over the past month to trade broadly between US83.50 cents and US84.50c.

"I couldn't speculate whether it will strengthen more, but it's hard to see it higher than it is today," said Alan Bailey, a spokesperson for Mobil.

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