Benalla heads list of cheapest fuel in the region

By Laura Briggs

If you're looking for the cheapest unleaded petrol prices, Benalla is the place to go in regional Victoria, according to a recent report released by RACV.

The investigation surveyed 27 regional towns across Victoria and the suburbs of Melbourne to find the cheapest and most expensive locations throughout the 2018-19 financial year.

Benalla offered drivers the cheapest of all, with an average cost per litre of 131.7c — 5.8c cheaper than the next cheapest in Ballarat.

Results show that Shepparton came in at sixth-cheapest for unleaded fuel, averaging 139.4c/litre, while Ararat was the most expensive, averaging 150.9c.

Also among the more expensive of the regional towns was Echuca, Kyabram and Cobram.

Regional Victoria overall was on average cheaper than metro Melbourne, with an average price of 139.6c/litre compared to 140.5c/litre in the city. 

RACV’s vehicle engineering manager Michael Case said pricing differences simply came down to competition.

“In one word, it’s competition; in two words, it’s local competition,” he said.

“In highly competitive local areas when one petrol retailer cuts their prices, other local competitors follow.”

Mr Case said a gradual rationalisation of fuel stations in some areas had resulted in softer competition and therefore higher prices.

At the same time, he said some fuel retailers relied on their shop sales to boost profits and were prepared to cut margins on fuel to attract customers into their store.