Cheap fuel draws motorists

Petrol pondering . . . RD Petroleum Clinton branch manager Sid Akhil stands in the forecourt where 91›octane fuel was the cheapest in the Clutha district on Monday. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

[email protected]

Cheaper fuel prices are attracting out›of›town motorists into the Clutha district.

Clinton RD Petroleum manager Sid Akhil, who has been in management for nearly five years, said variations in fuel prices around the region had resulted in his station being patronised more than ever by people travelling further than their local areas to get the cheapest 91›octane fuel.

‘‘It’s weird seeing an increase of people coming especially just for fuel.

‘‘I’ve had many conversations with people from down further south, along with people coming from Balclutha and sometimes even Milton, about how at the moment we’re retaining the cheapest 91 and people are travelling just for cheaper 91,’’ Mr Akhil said.

‘‘I had a person in from Wanaka who was baffled at how we were sitting on $2.879 per litre of 91 while others were as high as $3.039 [on July 13].

‘‘We don’t change the prices from our panel though, and we’re not particularly sure from our end why we’re much cheaper. We just follow directions from the main branch office in Christchurch.

‘‘It has been positive on our end being cheaper, though.’’

The highest priced 91 in the country on Monday was Gull in Auckland at $3.367 per litre as sourced from

Mr Akhil said he was not completely sure what the coming months would hold, but he said it was harder financially now than ever.

‘‘Times like these are difficult. I used to go to town and get things for the shop .. .all the time. Now I’m lucky if someone else is going the same way, and it’s like a car pool situation and I ask them to pick things up on their way past,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s just become easier that way recently.’’

A 25c cut in petrol excise duty, an equivalent reduction in road user charges and half›price public transport fares were due to end next month, but now all have been extended until the end of January. The confirmation on Sunday afternoon by the Government brought mixed reactions on social media — specifically on who to blame.

The Otago Daily Times Facebook page stirred debates — some thinking people should be looking into the Government’s motives, and some turning their heads towards blaming large fuel companies throughout the country.

Commenter Louise Deverson wrote ‘‘All these comments slating the government and nothing about questioning record profits from BP, Z Energy and Mobil? They make so much money it’s sickening.’’

A reply spurred from Frank Pollard said ‘‘Why? Successive Labour & National governments have done nothing. The issue we are protesting is the removal of our democracy.’’

Prices of fuel in the Clutha district were sourced from the Gaspy phone application.