Ballina drivers pay a premium at the bowser


BALLINA residents fork out about $200 more on petrol each year than their neighbours in Lismore or Casino, judging by yesterday's prices.

Topping up your tank in Ballina was more expensive than anywhere else on the Northern Rivers.

Lismore was the cheapest, at around 91.9 cents for a litre of unleaded petrol.

Service stations in Ballina were uniformly charging eight cents a litre more.

At least five of the Ballina petrol stations are owned by two major players.

Santo Pennisi owns three BP stations.

Angela and Trevor Brand own the two Ampol Service Stations. One of these is the popular Big Prawn outlet at West Ballina.

"We don't set fuel prices," Angela Brand said.

"I refuse to comment further."

Mr Pennisi also refused to comment.

Multinational fuel companies generally have a standard cost price for merchants.

"Our terminal gate price is currently 89.95 cents in Brisbane and 90.09 in Sydney," said Peter Metcalfe, external affairs manager for BP.

In metropolitan areas, price wars effect price, but in country areas it is about about the volume you are able sell, Mr Metcalfe said.

The more petrol you can sell, the lower you can afford to sell it at.

"Freight is not the major thing," he said.

Mr Metcalfe agreed a highway town would generally result in greater volume sold, but said it would depend on the location.

Garry Johnston, from the Neummann Petroleum outlet on Bangalow Road at Clunes, was charging 92.9 cents yesterday.

"I try to be around a similar price to Lismore," he said.

"Other than cost price and freight costs, fuel price mostly depends on how much the operator wants to make out of it."

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