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Under the pump

Tom Wilson Motors in Martinborough on Thursday. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

With fuel prices sharply up, some of the best deals in the wider region are in Wairarapa, with at least one supplier pledging to hold prices for now. SUE TEODORO reports.

Gull Service Station in Masterton had a litre of unleaded 91 at $2.92 on Sunday, keeping a commitment to buyers. The supplier reassured motorists it had enough supply.

Gull retail operations manager Mike Turner said prices would be reviewed this week.

“Pricing over the last two weeks has been volatile. There are number of factors that could play out over the next few weeks, and uncertainty in the markets typically translates to increases at the pump.

“We want to provide as much consistency and certainty to our customers across our network, and so we will continue to look at the daily pricing and international events to achieve this.”

He said Gull had plenty of fuel.

“Given the large spike in demand seen across stations on Friday, our distributors are working hard to catch up and top-up any sites that have run out of fuel grades.”

Gull has 113 sites across New Zealand, including Masterton.

The Times-Age compared prices across the region and in Wellington city using the Gaspy app.

Before Friday’s spike in prices, on Thursday morning one of the cheapest gas stations across the region was in Martinborough. Tom Wilson Motors had a litre of unleaded 91 at $2.76. Mobil in Featherston had the same product at $2.95, Caltex Upper Hutt [Rimutaka] had it at $3.09 and Wellington City [Newtown] had a high of $3.30.

By Sunday afternoon prices were significantly up on Thursday, but Wairarapa prices remained good value compared with Wellington city.

Martinborough had a low of $2.95, Featherston $2.99, Carterton $2.95, Greytown $2.95, Masterton $2.89 and Wellington city [Taranaki St] $3.25.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty said there was no doubt prices were fluctuating, but the level of fluctuation was unusual.

“It’s a very volatile market. This is a worldwide issue,” he said, acknowledging the dual role of covid and the conflict in Ukraine.

He said markets in Australia, the UK, Canada and the United States had seen fuel prices at record highs.

“I never fill up in Wellington. I’m aware Masterton is often the cheapest in the region,” he said, although he used gas stations right across the region.

He said the number and range of outlets across Wairarapa contributed to competitive pricing and observed Wellington city had few outlets.

“Wellington doesn’t really have that many.

“There are gas stations right across Wairarapa. People should fill up here when they visit the region,” he said.

McAnulty said the government was keeping a close eye on the issue, and were focused on increasing wages. He was aware petrol was a big part of people’s weekly outgoings, but did not think reducing the fuel tax was the answer.

“I recognise this is a major issue for most people at the moment.

“If the fuel tax gets reduced, it will impact the amount spent on roading upgrades.”

Business Wairarapa general manager Nicola Belsham said it was another cost for businesses, and was a global issue.

“The onflow effect will be huge for all sectors,” she said.

“Government taxes and levies are a big part of the cost of fuel. Maybe this is something government could consider. I’d be interested to see what percentage [of the fuel tax] is used on roading.

She said people across the region would be affected.

“We could see increased numbers of people working from home.”

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