The Northern Territory news Fri 10 Oct 2014
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin
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FRIDAY OCTOBER 10 2014 NEWS 09 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Katrina Kawaljenko-Smith from Wanguri fills up at United Petroleum after the station dropped the price of ethanol-based fuel Picture: MICHAEL FRANCHI Pump action may fire first shots in price war A FUEL pricing war could be on the horizon for Darwin, says a fuel industry insider. But that will depend on whether motorists refuse to accept the price-gouging that has been going on. If certain competitors start to drop their prices, what youll probably find is other competitions if its eating into the number of their customers will do the same and have the effect of driving down prices, said the insider, who asked not to be identified. Any retailer could do it. Yesterday, United Pet roleum dropped the price of their ethanol-based e10 fuel by three cents bringing it in at five cents/litre cheaper than unleaded fuel at Darwin retailers. The insider said if people started going to that station in stead of others, the competitors would have to follow suit in order to win back customers. If customers think the price stinks, then the customers shouldnt turn up there, he said. But if they dont care about the two or three cents, then you wont see any change in prices. The easiest way to get the customers back is to drop their prices or match them at least. In bigger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, a price war typically occurs every few weeks and becomes so aggressive some fuel retailers are forced to sell at a loss, the source said. The insider said all petrol companies are watching the situation in Darwin. The move was heralded as a small but first step toward getting the price down on all fuels. Chief Minister Adam Giles called the slight decrease an early sign of competition in the Darwin market. I want to issue a challenge to the other companies operat ing here to beat their price and prove they really are interested in competition, he said. Its now up to motorists ... Automobile Association of the NT general manager Edon Bell said he was also encouraged by the drop in price yesterday. Its a nominal value and theres clearly still a long way to go, he said. But at least we had one of the players saying theyre prepared to start. Hopefully that will keep up the momentum. One tiny drop of comfort for some drivers ONCE the morning rush was over, fuel prices dropped at United Petroleums Ludmilla service station just after 9.30am yesterday. Their Plus ULP brand, containing ethanol, dropped from 169.7 to 166.7 cents per litre, but not everyone was convinced to park at the green bowser. Consumers choosing between the ethanol blend and other fuels were split down the middle. Lucy Copeland, of Parap, was one of those who did choose the reduced option for her, it was a case of going for what was cheapest. I usually use this anyway ... it was ridiculous though, it was just too high, she said. (But) if regular unleaded was cheaper I would go for that. I think everyone wants to see both of them down. Martha Purcell from Ludmilla gladly filled up. Im happy its (the price) lower, it will help people for sure, she said. Katrina Kawaljenko-Smith, of Wanguri, filled up her Mazda SUV for $101.77 on the ethanol blend. She was not as impressed with Uniteds decision to make what she said was a small reduction. It could be more, its not a lot to be honest, she said. It should be all fuel, not just one of them. It makes no sense. Mike Herd, of Larrakeyah, agreed but said the reduction was a step in the right direction. It probably annoys some people that regular fuel isnt reduced, I hope itd go further, he said. It depends if people have a new enough car to use the ethanol fuel too. United Ludmilla manager Suman Goundla believed the reduction would help Darwin motorists, but could not make further comment. Christopher Walsh email@example.com As the Sunday Territorian celebrates being 30 years young, we look back at the events that have shaped the Territory over the last three decades. Reminisce about the big news moments, the major NT developments and what life was like in the Territory in this three-part series. CelebRATiNg 30 yeARS of The SuNdAy TeRRiToRiAN THIS SUNDAY HISTORY WILL REPEAT ITSELF Get your frst liftout, 1984 - 1994, in this weekend's Sunday Territorian. 34241.v34241.v