Petrol prices too high: AA

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 17:19 01/08/2014

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Regular petrol is overpriced by 4 cents a litre, the Automobile Association says.

AA spokesman Mark Stockdale said the last price cut was on July 10. Since then global petrol commodity prices had fallen about the equivalent of US10 cents (12c) a litre.

"Allowing for the fall in the exchange rate, that equates to a drop in the imported cost of petrol of about 4c per litre, so the AA believes fuel companies should by cutting retail prices by about that amount," he said.

Dave Bodger, chief executive of Gull, agreed the AA's sums were right, based on oil prices out of Singapore.

However, his company's prices were also about right, with Gull's average price for 91 octane at $2.09 cents a litre compared to the AA's average of $2.22c at the end of July.

In contrast, Jonty Mills, a spokesman for BP, said he did not believe there had been a fall in global petrol prices. Tensions in the Middle East were high and petrol prices had reflected that volatility, but BP based its prices on trends, not just everyday movements.

Z Energy Jonathan Hill said the AA had failed to take into account the higher cost of refining at Marsden Point. The refinery was taking longer than expected to come out of an outage in April and oil companies were having to pay more as a result. Z Energy alone was paying an extra $3.5 million a month.

BP had chosen not to raise its diesel prices, which had started to move upwards at other petrol stations today, Mills said.

That could not be confirmed, but AA called on petrol companies to hold their diesel prices, despite the falling New Zealand dollar.

"Fuel-company margins have been above average so they can afford to absorb the increased costs," Stockdale said.

Diesel prices fell 6c a litre in July to $1.48 in most places.

Stockdale said motorists would also be wise to check the price difference of different octane levels.

The difference between 91 and 95 octane petrol was 8 to 9 cents per litre, depending on brand. Premium 98 octane petrol, where available, sold for about 16 cents per litre more than 91 octane, with a bigger gap if the service station was discounting 91 octane.

"Many motorists are unaware of the price difference, as service stations tend to only advertise the price of 91 octane and diesel, so the AA recommends motorists check the price at the pump before filling up," he said.

The AA had asked the Government to make price boards mandatory and to include the price of all fuels, he added.

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