Cheaper fuel, but not in Taranaki

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 22/08/2014

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Taranaki motorists are paying more for their petrol due to lack of competition in the region.

Andrew de Haas, of New Plymouth, regularly commutes between Whanganui and Taranaki and contacted the Taranaki Daily News to say he was concerned motorists were being ripped off.

Petrol prices at the neighbouring city were "consistently 14 to 15 cents per litre cheaper, all the time", he said.

AA PetrolWatch spokesman Mark Stockdale said Whanganui was experiencing the "Gull effect".

"While Gull will always have lower prices at every service station, the other brands will only have lower prices at their service station that are competing with Gull in the same location," Stockdale said.

Whanganui's Gull Station sells its unleaded for $2.079 and their price means retailers such as Caltex charge $2.085.

When de Haas was in Whanganui on August 11, he filled up at supermarket chain Pak 'n Save's pumps for $2.049.

New Plymouth's retailers Z, Caltex, BP and New World were selling their 91 octane at the national price of $2.199, which has since dropped to $2.179 this week.

De Haas said New Plymouth prices were just "outrageous" and he felt like retailers were "pulling the wool over people's eyes".

He said Whanganui's lower price fuels were not a "one-off weekend deal".

De Haas said Taranaki was the "go-ahead power house" of the economy but its residents were paying the "highest petrol price in the country".

In Palmerston North, which has a Gull station, prices ranged from $2.07 to $2.17. Christchurch motorists, who don't have a Gull station, pay the same price as New Plymouth drivers. Stockdale said Taranaki was missing out on "some competition" but believed there could be some happening in Stratford, with 91 octane presently at $2.149.

Stockdale said the owner of the independently-owned Stratford station could have chosen a slightly lower price and others had followed suit.

"That's perfectly normal, that's the free market at work."

Big retailers will charge the national price throughout New Zealand, but where there was competition, the retailers will try to match their competitor.

Gull general manager Dave Bodger said the company was looking to open a station in Taranaki but had to first find a suitable site for it.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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