NOWRA motorists are feeling the pinch as fuel costs soar.
Local stations charge over 11 cents more per litre than the state’s average for unleaded petrol.
Nowra is ranked as the 13th highest place to fuel up in NSW according to this week’s NRMA Bowser Buster.
Hanlon Windows owner Chance Hanlon said with 12 business cars the company spends at least $10,000 per month on fuel.
“We have two trucks that travel to Sydney every day, Canberra once a week as well as Cooma and Thredbo,” he said.
“I’ve noticed diesel prices haven’t changed for the last six-months.
“But we always want to buy local and tend to try to buy from local suppliers like Kel Campbell as much as possible.
“It’s more expensive, but I can see what those people do in the community like supporting local events and sports and I think that’s really important.”
Mr Hanlon said he tries to be fuel-efficient by distributing loads evenly and planning travel.
NRMA director for south east NSW and ACT regions Alan Evans said it is not good enough that regions like Shoalhaven are forced to pay too much for fuel.
“I almost feel like a broken record talking about this, but it’s the lack of competition and dominance by two big supermarket chains that keeps the prices up,” he said.
“Unless you have competition from independents, you get this situation one could describe as extortion.
“Motorists don’t have a choice. They have to fill up.”
It is even worse for motorists who use diesel with Nowra the fifth highest in the state at 164.9 cents per litre.
Mr Evans said the minor price differences between local stations indicates lack of competition.
“We need to break the cycle or will always be caught with high prices,” he said.
“It’s market failure.
“What you will find is those towns with more independent outlets have competitive prices, like Sydney.
“Oil companies don’t like being called to account, so the more people who express annoyance and demand a reason why we are being discriminated against the better,” he said.
Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis said she had no doubt lack of competition was the reason behind such high fuel prices in Nowra.
She said nothing could be done until the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was strengthened.
“There is nothing government can do,” she said.
“The more people who put their arguments forward the better, then we can say we need an investigation.
“We are in the process of legislation, there’s little point in contacting me straight away until after the ACCC has been strengthened.
“Once legislation has gone through, the more the merrier.”