Rural areas to see lower fuel prices?

Fuel seems to perfectly fulfil that old description: can't live with it, can't live without it.

While it is practically essential for a fleet manager to rely heavily on the internal combustion engine - at least until electric cars become more viable solutions - high fuel prices make it difficult to run a business without suffering hefty everyday costs.

This is especially true in rural areas, where the price of delivering fuel and a lack of competition forces road users into higher purchasing costs at the pump. In fact, it is these regional businesses that will likely be feeling the pinch, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The industry body's latest report further highlighted the problem that many rural fleet managers will already understand - fuel prices need to fall to help company's located outside of the metropolises keep up with their city-based counterparts.

What's more, the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) have welcomed the report, further heaping pressure on oil companies to be more competitive in rural Australia.

"It's good news that the ACCC is taking these steps and we hope it will result in fairer prices in the bush," NRMA President Kyle Loades explained last month.

"Petrol prices have come down 40 cents per litre over the past six months in most capital cities. However, in most regional centres these prices have not fallen far enough and the gap between city and country prices has widened."

Using New South Wales as an example, the average cost per litre of unleaded petrol in Sydney was 107.4 cents, while further up the east coast in Woolgoolga, that price rose to 145 cents per litre.

With fuel consumption such a hot topic for fleet managers, Mr Loades said such a broad margin is not acceptable.

"This is simply ridiculous and it is places like Woolgoolga, Cooma, Gundagai, Coffs Harbour and Tamworth that have paid too much for too long," he concluded.