Trevor Veale

Sydney fuel at 92.9 - why you pay more

SYDNEY is presently enjoying some of its cheapest fuel in years with several stations across the city's southwest posting prices of 92.9 cents a litre for E10 unleaded petrol.

Over the weekend prices dropped even further with reports some stations had bowser prices below 90 cents. 

And while prices across the country are lower than usual, they are still far higher than those seen down south. 

North Lakes, in the Moreton region, just north of Brisbane, often enjoys some of the best fuel prices in Queensland as a result of the presence of the American retailer Costco. 

Costco sells its fuel at cost price so today reports that you'l pay 101.9 cents a litre for E10 unleaded.

One hour north of there on the Sunshine Coast the best price you'll grab is 105.9 with 7 Eleven and Puma stations leading the charge. 

But if you chose to drive one hour south from Brisbane,

instead of north and arrived at the Gold Coast you'd find fuel there was far cheaper - presently retailing at 99.9. 

The same anomaly shows up if you compare prices in Grafton and Maryborough - both are about four hours drive from Brisbane - the closest major port. 

However clearly the distance the fuel is trucked doesn't define the price.

In Maryborough Puma and Caltex are presently leading the market with 114.9 cents a litre while in Grafton the Caltex in town and the Matilda on the Highway are posting prices of 103 cents. 

Interestingly the Sydney stations selling their fuel at super low prices are actually doing so at a loss.

The Australian Institute of Petroleum posts the daily Terminal Gate Price for each of the major ports on its website.

The Terminal Gate Price is the amount the fuel stations pay for their petrol.

This shows the cost of unleaded petrol - which is generally about two cents a litre higher than E10 - is 99.6 a litre in Sydney and 99.7 cents a litre in Brisbane.

In 2006 a Federal Inquiry in Petrol Prices in Australia was chaired by George Brandis and it concluded that competition defined petrol prices more than any other factor. 

"Petrol prices in rural, regional and remote areas are on average, higher than prices in metropolitan areas," the report read.

"People in metropolitan areas benefit from market forces and increased competition, whilst these just do not exist in markets servicing people living in many regional, rural and remote communities of Australia and to whom fuel is very much a non-discretionary commodity.

"Although higher fuel prices flow through to higher costs of living in country areas, other costs such as rent and property prices can be lower which goes some way to offsetting them.

"Nevertheless, the Committee acknowledges that sustained high petrol prices are particularly painful to those in country areas."

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