Motorists slugged

Gordon and Vi Bobbin run diesel vehicles for their business and are coming under pressure from the spike in fuel prices. Photo: Kieren Tilly.

Narrandera motorists are feeling less pain at the bowser than most Riverina towns with some of the lowest unleaded fuel prices in the region.

The town’s lowest price of 139.9 cents a litre for unleaded at Metro is only topped by 138.9 cents a litre at Junee’s United service station and 136.9 cents a litre at Barmedman’s Metro. Country motorists are well ahead of their city cousins who are paying 153.7 to a top of 171.9 cents a litre in Sydney, according to Tuesday’s prices on NSW FuelCheck.

When it comes to diesel prices, they range from 144.9 to 152.9 cents a litre in Narrandera. In Leeton, motorists experienced a 10 cent a litre price rise last week following an attack on Saudi Arabian oil refineries but prices steadied before the October long weekend to finish at a low of 144.9 c/litre for unleaded and 149.9 c/litre for diesel.

Motorists at Boorowa are paying 152.9c/litre while those are Young are paying the highest at 153.9c/litre.

Narrandera security contractor Gordon Bobbin racks up the kilometres in his vehicles and is feeling the pressure of the price spike on his business operations. Mr Bobbin and his wife Vi have been operating Narrandera Security Services for almost 20 years in Narrandera and rack up 5000 kilometres per month. The business owners receive no assistance from state or federal governments with regards to their fuel costs. The couple runs two diesel four wheel drives and have always operated diesel engine vehicles.

“When we started the business at the end of 1999, it would cost $28 to $32 to fill our tanks from almost empty,” Mr Bobbin said. “In 2001 diesel was at around $1.08/litre. Nowadays I am looking at $65 for half a tank.”

Mr Bobbin has travelled a total 134,800km in his work truck from new in three years and says chatter across the airwaves with truckies always focuses on fuel prices.

“Those kilometres can grow substantially and unex-pectedly. If we are suddenly required to monitor a facility and it requires constant checking then that means more driving,” he said. “An ordinary night for us might mean three trips to Leeton and back to check a client’s property or properties.”

Asked if he hoped to see a downward change in the price of diesel at the pumps Mr Bobbin was hopeful but not encouraged.

“It would be great to see a drop, however if it keeps going higher then it has a major effect on our bottom line.

“When I get a call from a prospective client for a quote to supply security services, I set the trip meter to see how far it is out to the location, we will drive around the perimeter to see how far it is and how long it would take to do a patrol.

“We work out in as much detail as we can what the fee will need to be, allowing for a number of factors including wear and tear on the vehicle and of course fuel.

“However if the fuel costs go over what we might have budgeted for, we can’t go back to the client and ask for an increase to cover the fuel, we just have to wear the extra cost.”

The couple is investigating an on-site diesel storage. Mr Bobbin believes that changing our style of driving can and will reduce fuel costs.

“Whilst I don’t believe you save anything by using the shopper dockets for fuel, people have to be prepared to shop around for the best price,” he said. “Everyone has the ability to reduce the fuel usage by driving smarter to suit the conditions.”

The lowest prices for unleaded around the Riverina according to FuelCheck are:

Barmedman 136.9c/litre
Junee 138.9c/litre
Narrandera 139.9c/litre
Cootamundra 140.7c/litre
Deniliquin 144.9c/litre
Griffith 145.9c/litre
Wagga Wagga 146.9c/litre
Temora 147.9c/litre
Gundagai 149.9c/litre
Boorowa 152.9c/litre
Young 153.9c/litre

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