Metro fuel prices a way off for Capes

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Perth motorists saw fuel prices as low as 88.9 cents a litre this week.
Camera IconPerth motorists saw fuel prices as low as 88.9 cents a litre this week. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian, Danella Bevis

WA’s fuel watchdog Fuelwatch says Capes motorists are not being ripped off at the bowser, despite limited price reductions at petrol stations this week.

But the region’s fuel companies are refusing to comment on prices or what procedures are in place to guarantee deliveries as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens.

Global oil prices started falling in December amid the virus outbreak.

The collapse of the OPEC alliance between Saudi Arabia and Russia further pushed prices lower. Last year’s average for ULP was 140.2¢ a litre.

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But motorists in the Capes region were yet to see more than about 10¢ savings per litre, sparking irritation from residents at the missed chance for savings.

Globally, over the past month the price of oil has fallen by about 50 per cent.

Fuel prices dropped below $1 a litre in Perth last week but a spokeswoman from FuelWatch said local drivers should not expect to see regional prices fall anytime soon.

“Petrol prices in regional WA, such as the Margaret River area, are generally higher than in metropolitan Perth due to the lower levels of competition and lower fuel-sales volumes in country areas,” she said.

“Lower foot traffic into regional sites also results in lower convenience store sales.

“Fuelwatch monitors fuel prices very closely and can confirm that petrol prices in the Margaret River area have been decreasing with a lag behind Perth petrol prices, wholesale prices and the benchmark price.”

As a result, the price of fuel at regional stations was generally more stable than in Perth.

“The regional-metro price gaps generally narrow when metropolitan prices increase and widen when metropolitan prices decrease, as it is currently.

“The recent and ongoing sharp decrease in Perth prices has exacerbated the regional-metro price gap.”

Capes fuel companies Better Choice, Coles Express, and Puma did not respond to Times inquiries.

A spokesman for Puma said “the company does not comment on fuel prices”.

Similar inquiries asking about preparations to ensure fuel deliveries during the pandemic were also declined.

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