Fuel could hit $5 litre

AN independent petrol retailer on the Tweed predicts unleaded fuel could reach prices as high as $5 a litre if tensions continue to escalate in the Middle East.

While motorists have been enjoying unexpected low prices, with drivers on the Tweed able to fill up for as little as 130.9 cents a litre with a supermarket discount docket, crude oil prices in Asia jumped to more than $126 a barrel yesterday over fears that Iran's nuclear program could threaten global crude supplies.

"If things continue heating up between the United States and Iran I predict local motorists will be paying up to $5 a litre," Harry Saad, a veteran of 30 years in the industry and owner of Neumann Petroleum in Murwillumbah, said yesterday.

"The price of crude oil can rise and fall from one day to the next, but if more pressure is placed on supply of oil, especially from Middle Eastern countries, then the price will definitely go up.

"Drivers won't be able to afford that price, which will mean that customers and the businesses themselves will suffer."

Yesterday morning Mr Saad was selling E95 unleaded fuel for 144.9 cents per litre, at least six cents cheaper than his nearby major label competitors on the Tweed Valley Way.

But by the end of the day crude Asian crude oil prices, the market that supplies Australian refineries, had jumped by almost one per cent to $126 US a barrel, but petrol prices on the Tweed remained relatively low compared with previous weeks were motorists were paying up to $1.60 a litre for unleaded fuel.

"Being independent gives me the opportunity to set my own pricing," Mr Saad said.

"I take the wholesale price and add a small profit margin, and we try to remain competitive with service stations in Tweed Heads which are normally cheaper as they are on the border and include a discount given to Queensland motorists."

For Uki mum Justine Carragher, who filled up her Subaru Forrester at the petrol station yesterday, the price at Neumann's was not the only incentive to shop there.

"They do full service, so when I have my baby in the back I don't have to get out of the car," the mother of 14-month-old Jazmin said.

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