Fuel tax to force price-seeking: Stations
Fuel companies are eyeing up a stretch of State Highway 1 just outside Auckland to a dodge the city’s new regional fuel tax.
Companies expect to see motorists fleeing Auckland’s inflated fuel prices by crossing the border into Waikato and Northland in a bid to beat the newly approved super-city tax.
The length of SH1 running north 13.5km from Te Hana on Auckland’s northern border through to Kaiwaka, where the next station is, makes for lucrative options.
Z Energy and Caltex spokesman Jonathan Hill said details of the tax were still sketchy, but clearly defined boundaries offered opportunities to build new stations.
When prices changed considerably stations witnessed people turning up with trailer loads of jerry cans to stockpile, Hill said.
‘‘I wouldn’t be surprised if companies bore that in mind when they decided to invest.’’
Auckland mayor Phil Goff has welcomed the tax saying the city must pay its share for ‘‘desperately needed’’ projects.
At Kaiwaka Caltex in Northland, 10km past the Auckland boundary, owner Harmeet Marzara said he wasn’t expecting an influx of tax-avoiding motorists - but he might be pleasantly surprised.
At Gasoline Alley in Te Hana, which is just inside the city boundary, owner Seemanshu Jain was expecting a huge impact.
He said his customers mainly travelled between regions, or were residents from nearby Northland towns looking for a cheaper price. ‘‘They’ll stop coming,’’ he said.
Sitting in their Jucy rental camper outside Jain’s station, German tourists Stefanie Farner and Nils Bergner confirmed they would keep bumping along the pot-holed highway to Kaiwaka and avoid the tax.
Gull general manager Dave Bodger believed truck drivers would add running tanks to increase fuel capacity, and avoid Auckland stations.
He said it was naive of the Government to expect the same volume of fuel would be sold in Auckland following the implementation of a tax, and there was a risk of a black market.
Bodger believed it was imperative the Government consulted the oil industry over the taxes collection, rebates for industries and a policing mechanism.
Te Hana Gasoline Alley owner Seemanshu Jain says his station’s future doesn’t look bright with the pending introduction of an Auckland region fuel tax.