The NRMA says country Australia should be getting the same low fuel prices as drivers in the cities. Image by James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS

Energy

Regional drivers lose out despite oil drop

2020-04-22 16:51:13

Regional Australians are losing out on petrol despite global oil prices plummeting amid the decreased demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes as car dealers are desperate to remind people they’re still selling and servicing cars.

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury says there’s no reason why people in country Australia aren’t seeing the low fuel prices people are enjoying in major cities.

He says while most motorists are seeing $1 per litre at the bowser, others such as those in Bourke or Bega in NSW are seeing prices of around $1.30 per litre.

“These prices definitely need to come down quicker than they are,” Mr Khoury told AAP on Tuesday.

“These are the parts of the country that have been doing it tough now for far too long.”

Mr Khoury said the higher prices in regional towns had nothing to do with logistics or distance, blaming competition in the local markets.

Meanwhile, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said Australians may be able to pick up a bargain at car dealerships as the coronavirus sees motor sales drop.

Chief executive Tony Weber said dealers were reporting low sales.

He reminded Australians car dealerships were open despite COVID-19, with precautions in place to protect staff and customers’ health and safety.

In March, there was a 17.9 per cent decline in car sales compared with March 2019, the worst monthly figure on record for more than a decade.

“This is obviously making a tough situation really bad,” Mr Weber said. 

“(Dealers) are open for business and keen to do business.”

“There’s plenty of stock so there’s really good opportunities … you could certainly do a good deal.”

Mr Khoury agreed it would be a good time to buy a car.

“The last thing the market needed was the coronavirus,” he said.