Petrol prices cheaper in Orange than most other towns in the central west

FUELLING UP: Orange has rated as having better value fuel than most of the central west.

FUELLING UP: Orange has rated as having better value fuel than most of the central west.

COMPETITION is key to cheap fuel prices and it is up to communities to ensure their service stations give them the best deal, according to the NRMA.

Orange has rated as having better value fuel than most of the central west, coming in 10 cents cheaper a litre than Lithgow.

As of June 1, Orange averaged just below $1.50 a litre, leading Bathurst at $1.54, Mudgee at $1.59 and Lithgow at $1.60.

It has consistently been the cheapest since January and experienced the largest price reduction between April and May, dropping by about five cents.

NRMA director Graham Blight said having a strong independent store was key to keeping prices down.

“It might vary from day to day but it seems to be a growing difference and it’s a very big difference,” he said.

“Orange has a strong independent operating there and since the mining industry took off, it got a lot more car traffic with people going in and out of town.

“Lithgow should have that because it gets a lot of traffic heading to the central west from the Blue Mountains, but the independent in Lithgow is on the highway where it’s 100km/h and when people make the decision to go to Bathurst, they’re not turning around to go and get fuel - it’s not in a good position.”

Mr Blight said distance had little to do with prices and the social media was the best platform to compare fuel prices.

“On average, transport charges only add two or three cents a litre - the thing that makes the difference is competition,” he said.

“People have got to spread the word around the community to have the cheapest pick of fuel - you create your own competition.”

While the fuel excise is set to be increased, Mr Blight said the government had a responsibility to legislate for more economical vehicles because Australia’s car industry no longer needed protection.

“In Australia, cars travel 12 kilometres to the litre - in Europe, it’s 21 kilometres to the litre,” he said.

“Europe has accepted high-efficiency fuel systems and we haven’t been because they’re more expensive and our own cars weren’t as fuel efficient.

“We don’t have to worry about that now.”

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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