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Fuel cheaper south of the border

Article PhotoThis year's State of Origin victory against the Maroons finally stopped an eight-year winning streak.

While that win will live long in the memory, a second State of Origin victory has recently slipped somewhat under the radar.

Petrol 'State of Origin'

Over the past 12 months, the National Roads & Motorists' Association and the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland have been carefully recording petrol prices in every town in the two states.

Based on the year's findings, NSW was revealed as the winner - taking home another narrow, yet important title. The average price for regular unleaded fuel in NSW was 147.7 cents per litre. In comparison, Queensland's average was slightly higher at 151.6 cents per litre.

NSW also claimed two other important categories in the study. The cheapest average price for fuel in NSW was 148.1 cents per litre found in Sydney. Queensland's cheapest average price was on the Sunshine Coast, but was 1.2 cents per litre more expensive.

In addition, the highest average fuel cost was found in the Queensland town of Weipa. At 178.8 cents per litre, it was well ahead of NSW's most expensive petrol in Tumut (164.2 cents per litre).

While it is not suggested to drive across the border when you need to fill up, the study aims to highlight the differences in petrol price between NSW and Queensland.

What was the reaction to these findings?

NRMA President Kyle Loades explained why NSW may have cheaper fuel that the Sunshine state.

"NSW had to wait nine years to reclaim the State of Origin, however with more independents south of the border we are not surprised that NSW petrol prices are slightly lower," he said.

"Regardless of which state you live in, the presence of independents means more competition and lower prices."

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith responded in typical Queensland fashion, exclaiming that the state has high hopes for next time.

"Support those service stations keeping their prices down, and if you live in Sydney or Brisbane where what you pay is impacted by the petrol price cycle, purchase at the bottom of the cycle when fuel is cheapest," she stated.

"While NSW may've taken out the battle at the bowser this year, we hope strong competition in parts of Queensland such as the Sunshine Coast gets us over the line in 2015."

Are fuel prices improving?

One of the bigger issues for Australian drivers is no doubt the price of petrol, with bundles of news articles dedicated to the subject. In fact, according to 2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics, households spend an average of $60 a week on fuel. This is considerably more than CTP insurance, registration, licencing and other car related costs.

With this in mind, Australian drivers will be looking at the latest news reports of falling oil prices with thoughts of some pre-Christmas cheer. However, according to Fairfax Media, this will have little impact on the price at the pump.

Commsec economist Craig James, told The Age that it could be weeks before lower oil prices are reflected across NSW.

"The gross retail margin is historically high, close to record levels," he said.

"We tend to smooth the margins over four to five weeks to get an idea of trend. There may be reasons for it, a principal one is that global prices and wholesale prices have been falling quickly while pump prices fall with a lag. So pump prices are still playing catch up."