Diesel users being ‘screwed’

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An Arrowtowner alleges Wakatipu motorists are being gouged at the pump, and aren’t getting any choice on price.

In an email to Energy Minister Dr Megan Woods, David Palmer complains that Queenstown and Arrowtown fuel prices are “more per litre than almost anywhere else in the country” – up to $1.759/litre at the time he complained.

Over the past two months, he also notes diesel in local outlets was between 25 and 28 cents a litre dearer than Cromwell’s Allied Petroleum depot.

Palmer alleges price-fixing because BP, Z Energy, Mobil and NPD “charge identical prices, and changes are posted within minutes of each other”.

“What is happening here is not a free market and it’s certainly not a level playing field.

“We are being screwed.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Mobil, Z and Caltex charged $1.819/litre, BP $1.829. NPD and RD Petroleum’s unmanned Arrowtown station charged $1.789.

Local Caltex co-owner Richard Lee admits prices are pretty much the same throughout the Wakatipu, but says there’s no collusion.

“We get charged a wholesale price and if [the oil companies] put the wholesale price up 2c, we put the retail price up 2c.”

Lee says local fuel’s normally 7c a litre dearer than in the big cities because it’s trucked from Dunedin, four hours away.

Cromwell’s Allied Petroleum station’s a lot cheaper as it’s unmanned, he says.

Mountain Scene’s asked Energy Minister Woods to respond to Palmer’s complaint, but didn’t hear back by deadline.

scoop@scene.co.nz