The motoring industry watchdog gave a positive response recently when asked about predictions that fuel prices were about to sky-rocket across NSW.
NRMA president Kyle Loades said he did not think the forecast from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would hurt motorists in Maitland and the Lower Hunter as much as it would elsewhere.
The response from Mr Loades (pictured) came after fuel prices dropped from a relatively high point during the Christmas period, when Maitland was ranked 36th out of 57 in the list of the state’s cheapest fuel.
No doubt it would have made Maitland motorists think back to the bad old days when petrol in Maitland was regularly – and inexplicably – much dearer than elsewhere in the Lower Hunter.
But by the time the first week of January rolled around, Maitland had climbed to 10th on the rankings – ahead of the ACCC’s dire warning for motorists to fill up their vehicles while the going was good.
On Sunday morning, the cost of e10 unleaded fuel ranged between 123.8c/l and 144.9c/l in the Maitland-Rutherford area, while regular unleaded ranged between 125.8c/l and 126.5c/l.
Meanwhile, in Newcastle, e10 ranged between 121.9c/l and 144.9c/l and unleaded cost between 122.9c/l and 148.7c/l.
In Cessnock, the spread was 115.9c/l and 144.9c/l for e10 unleaded and 117.9c/l and 146.9c/l for regular unleaded.
“It’s pretty fair pricing [in Maitland] at the moment,” Mr Loades told Fairfax Media.
“It’s important to compare prices. You can save yourself a fair bit of money.”
Fairfax Media and NRMA have cast a spotlight on petrol prices in the Maitland area in the past couple of years, after it was revealed that fuel could cost up to 30c/l more in this city than it did in Newcastle on a given day.
The result has been that motorists have put pressure on service station operators to be more competitive and lower their prices.
It showed the power that consumers have to affect petrol prices in their area, which have in the past been blamed on international oil prices and other factors that are beyond the control of many of us.
So as other parts of the state prepare for a price rise at the bowser, think carefully about where you buy your fuel in Maitland and avoid rewarding service stations that are not giving motorists a reasonable deal – that’s the best way to keep petrol prices down.