Average fuel prices in Sydney have begun to edge up after declining for 47 days, but the NRMA says there is no reason petrol prices should go up in the Central West in the next two weeks.
NRMA spokeswoman Rebecca Page said average petrol prices have declined in Central West cities including Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo in the past two weeks.
“The prices are expected to fall for another two weeks unless the retailers hike them,” she said.
Fuel prices have come down from a four-year high in October in the Central West cities.
For instance, the average petrol price in Bathurst on December 3, 2018 was 144.5 cents per litre compared with 156.2c on October 17, 2018.
However, it is still higher than the average price (140.1c) last year on December 3, 2017.
Similarly, the average petrol price in Orange on December 3, 2018 was 144.9c compared with 156.9c on October 17, 2018.
The average petrol price in Orange was 133.3c on December 3, 2017.
The average petrol price in Dubbo on December 3, 2018 was 153.4c compared with 163.2c on October 17, 2018.
The average petrol price in Dubbo was 136.5c on December 3, 2017.
But despite a steep recent fall in average fuel prices in Sydney, the difference between fuel prices in Sydney and regional areas has remained high.
For instance, the average petrol price in Sydney was 126.2c compared with 144.5c in Bathurst, 144.9c in Orange and 153.4c in Dubbo on Tuesday.
Ms Page said the Sydney market experiences constant high and low fluctuations in fuel prices compared with regional markets.
“Fuel prices take weeks to reach regional areas and they don’t tend to go that high or low,” she said.
“It means regional markets are a little more consistent and stable compared with Sydney.”
Ms Page said the stability was due to the difference in these markets.
“There are around 800 service stations in Sydney whereas Bathurst has only seven,” she said.
“The competition and pricing strategies are different for both markets.
“Volume of fuel sold, and cost of transport and freight are other contributing factors for higher prices in regional cities.”
Ms Page said Lithgow is an interesting market as it always tends to have cheaper petrol prices despite having only four service stations.
“This is because of the volume of motorists coming from other towns knowing where the bargains can be found in the region,” she said.
“Service stations in Bathurst or Orange are not doing anything illegal in keeping their prices higher than Lithgow.
“Retailers are entitled to charge whatever they want.”
Ms Page said regional people suffer because of limited public transport options and have to use their vehicles to travel.
She said the NRMA welcomes the ongoing Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into regional fuel prices.