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AA Petrol Watch

AA PETROLWATCH 2003

AA PetrolWatch notes that, despite the uncertainties created by conflict in Iraq, wholesale and retail petrol prices fell during March. This reflected falling international oil prices, contrary to earlier expectations that prices would in fact rise. The New Zealand dollar also remained strong. AA PetrolWatch could clearly establish that pump prices fell quickly in response to lower international oil prices and, as well, that the importer margin for the last week in March was the lowest in nine months.

In March, pump prices for 91 Octane fell on average: 5¢/litre in Auckland and Tauranga (from highs of 110¢ down to 105¢/litre) 7¢/litre in other North Island centres (from 113¢ down to 106¢/litre) 10¢/litre in the South Island (from 116¢ down to 107¢/litre).

Auckland, Tauranga and, to some extent, Hamilton regularly have lower pump prices than the rest of the country because of stronger competition in these locations. These areas do not always see the full effect of decreases in pump prices compared to those announced by the oil companies, because there is often already a discount in place.

The regional patterns show the greatest price volatility in the South Island. This could be indicating that the least competitive areas are being targeted first for price increases.

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