Regional Aussies still paying more for petrol than city counterparts amid COVID-19

By Rodney Woods

Regional Australians are losing out on fuel 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 said there was no reason why people in country Australia were not seeing the low fuel prices being enjoyed by people in major cities.

He said while most motorists were seeing fuel at $1/litre at the bowser, others such as those in Bourke or Bega in NSW were seeing prices of around $1.30/litre.

“These prices definitely need to come down quicker than they are,” Mr Khoury said.

“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, and instead blamed 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 pandemic sees motor sales drop.

Chief executive Tony Weber said dealers were reporting low sales and 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.