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AA PetrolWatch - August 2011

PetrolWatch - August 2011

Prices drop below $2 for the first time since February Petrol prices ended August as they began the month, on $2.07 a litre for 91 octane, but not before temporarily falling 7 cents per litre during the month. Likewise, diesel prices fell 6 cents per litre during August, but ultimately ended the month down 3 cents on $1.44 a litre at most service stations.

"With petrol prices stubbornly remaining above $2 a litre for most of the year, they finally dropped below the $2 barrier for the first time since February, although this was only short-lived," says AA PetrolWatch spokesperson Mark Stockdale.

"The fall in retail prices resulted from a 10 per cent drop in oil prices in early August. This was partially offset by a fall in our exchange rate, and since then oil prices have risen 10 per cent while the kiwi dollar has recovered a little so prices are back to where they were at the start of the month," Mr Stockdale said.

"Oil prices are now over US$114 a barrel, and if it wasn't for our high exchange rate, we'd be paying a lot more for fuel. When the kiwi dollar was worth 75 US cents and commodity prices were the same as they are now, 91 octane petrol cost $2.19 a litre," Mr Stockdale added.

Not all service stations are equal In New Zealand, fuel prices are often the same at the four major brands throughout much of the country, because fuel companies buy fuel from the same sources at the same price, with the same distribution costs and similar overheads. But prices can differ at remoter locations and at service stations that are independently-owned.

"Not all branded sites are owned by the fuel companies, and prices at those independent sites can differ because they are set by the business owner, not the fuel company.

"It's a little like the difference in milk prices at the big supermarket brands versus dairies. If you notice fuel prices are higher than average at a service station, regardless of brand, it probably means the site is independently-owned," said Mr Stockdale.

There are just over 1,200 service stations in New Zealand, of which about half are fuel company-owned.

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