Our punishing petrol prices

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Queenstowners are being punished at the pumps where prices are 30c more per litre for petrol than two hours south of here.

According to fuel price-tracking app Gasby, drivers can score 91 petrol for as cheap as $2.12/L in Invercargill – in Cromwell it’s $2.24/L and in Wanaka, $2.28/L.

Queenstown petrol stations, meanwhile, are charging $2.43/L.

AA principal adviser Mark Stockdale says the gap in price between Queenstown and Invercargill’s “significant” and “not normal”.

While fuel in the resort normally costs more due to the cost of freight between the Dunedin port and the Wakatipu, that should only be “a few cents more” a litre.

“You could ask, if you can have lower than the national price [$2.37/L] in Cromwell, then why couldn’t you have that in Queenstown?”

While normally low-cost brands with unmanned stations, like Allied and McKeown, have lower overheads, charge less and help drive the price down, that’s not the case in Queenstown.

The resort’s two unmanned stations – at Frankton and Arrowtown – are all charging $2.43/L for 91.

Stockdale says that’s “disappointing”.

“I can’t really explain that, and in our view, they should be lower.”

Caltex Queenstown owner-operator Richard Lee says it’s a misconception owners are ripping people off, because it’s fuel companies that set the wholesale price.

“We really have no control on the wholesale price – we get a text or email from our wholesaler recommending the wholesale price, because they’ve put their prices up.

“Owners barely make five per cent profit on fuel.

“What people don’t realise is the government takes about 80 per cent.”

Kiwis currently pay more than $1/L in petrol tax.

miranda.cook@scene.co.nz