Petrol prices subject to 'swings and roundabouts'

The price of petrol can fluctuate considerably from week to week - and from place to place - says one NRMA spokesman.

Drivers travelling north of Newcastle, NSW and through the Hunter Valley can expect to pay slightly more for petrol and diesel than their counterparts in Sydney over the holiday season, Kyle Loads - the NRMA director for the Hunter and Central Coast - told the Maitland Mercury.

This is largely down to less competition, he said, noting that petrol could cost upwards of $1.55 a litre and diesel could cost as much as $1.63 a litre.

Mr Loads explained that the price of petrol can vary widely in large urban centres like Sydney, but in locations with a smaller population, it tends to remain more stable. Independent suppliers, he added, can also often offer stable prices, which keeps the larger operators "accountable".

However, some drivers are likely to see fluctuations in petrol prices as price gouging - particularly on public holidays and during the festive season. Mr Loads noted that usually, this is a misconception.

Fuel costs at home are subject to "swings and roundabouts" abroad, he said, noting that a recent dip in value of the Australian dollar and an increase in the price of oil overseas have both contributed to the rising prices we see at the pumps.

Drivers who are looking to cut down on their car fuel consumption should consider a number of proactive measures they can take, including getting regular oil changes and replacing clogged air filters.

Fleet management software can also help fleet managers keep tabs on which cars are operating more and less efficiently in their organisation, and make decisions about which vehicles are the most cost effective to operate.