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Wellington petrol prices are some of the highest in NZ - why is it so high?

Motorists living in Wellington and parts of the South Island remain frustrated at having to pay more for petrol than anyone else.

In Wanaka it costs almost $2.64 to fill up. Wellingtonians are paying $2.49 a litre for petrol at the main stations in town.

That's more than in Auckland, which, even with its new regional fuel tax, is sitting around $2.46 in the central city - and Hunterville - where you can fill your tank for just $2.30.

On Adelaide road in the suburb of Newtown, two main players sit right opposite each other - BP, and Caltex.

Both are charging very close to $2.49 a litre - and motorists are not impressed.

Two Australian tourists in particular said in Whanganui the petrol was 19 cents cheaper per litre. They reckoned prices here were "a joke".

At a Challenge station in Johnsonville the price is four cents a litre cheaper, which is enough to convince locals to avoid the bigger players just a few minutes drive away.

Lloyd Hassed, the owner of the Johnsonville Challenge, said the reason his prices were cheaper was simple.

"It's over to their head office I guess, a lot of those sites are run by oil companies, and we're not."

He says there used to be Challenge stations in Wellington.

"What Challenge sites there were around have disappeared, because Caltex bought them, and sold a few of the sites off."

In Timaru two women have started a Facebook event, calling for people to boycott petrol stations on 26 October and October 27, as a protest about the inflated prices.

So far 18,000 people had indicated they were interested.

The Government said taxes were not the reason prices were so high - and was planning to push through legislation to allow the Commerce Commission to carry out market studies and require companies to hand over information.

Fuel companies need to explain why there's a 40 cent variation in fuel prices across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

"Just this morning the fuel station nearest my home is charging less a litre than the fuel station near the airport in Wellington. Ten cents less, and that's with the regional fuel tax in Auckland.

"There are variation in prices that cannot be explained solely by transport costs," she said. 

- ww.rnz.co.nz


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