BUNDABERG drivers are paying a few cents more for unleaded than their south-east Queensland counterparts, but are six to seven cents better off than motorists in regional centres such as the Fraser Coast, Gladstone and Rockhampton.
A snapshot of prices taken last Tuesday lunchtime by APN newspapers across Queensland and northern NSW shows Bundaberg comparing favourably with many similar regional cities, thanks to some healthy local competition.
But BP Wessel Petroleum proprietor Paul Wessel predicted that by the end of next year, the region could have the most expensive price at the bowser.
Mr Wessel said supermarket giants were driving petrol prices in Bundaberg so low that it would push out smaller companies.
He said once the competition was knocked out of the region, prices would reach record highs.
Matilda owner Gary Jensen claimed it was his two businesses in Bundaberg — one in Walker Street and the other at Sugarland — that were driving prices down.
“Since Matilda has come to town, it’s really shaken it up,” he said. “Before that, Bundaberg was one of the dearest places to purchase petrol.”
Mr Jensen said it was important to have competition in Bundaberg because it was not located on a highway and was not as big a tourist destination.
“My suspicion is there are more petrol stations in Bundaberg per population,” he said.
“There are many options in Bundaberg. It’s a consumer place, which is really beneficial.”
Mr Wessel said people looking to get the most kilometres from their dollar should think about diesel vehicles.
“Diesel engines are probably one of the most efficient,” Mr Wessel said.
“Diesel has stability. I don’t think we’re going to see to many ups but it’s all driven by world economy.”
He said while LPG emissions were cleaner and the gas was known as a cost saver, with increasing costs at the bowser it was no longer the most efficient.
“You are better off using unleaded than LPG because of maintenance factors, and you’re not going to get the same mileage out of LPG compared to unleaded,” Mr Wessel said.
Mr Jensen said Matilda did not sell LPG because the infrastructure to install it would cost $200,000.
“There is a market for gas and there is plenty of availability for it from other petrol stations,” he said.
Mr Jensen said Matilda was in discussions of how it would be competitive with hybrid vehicles on the rise.
“We are investigating recharging options.”