Cut-price fuel retailer Gull says it is investigating ways to
move into the South Island.
General manager Dave Bodger said he had ''strong
aspirations'' to set up outlets in the South Island but oil
companies were reluctant to sell Gull fuel to service the
Mr Bodger said to open outlets in the South Island Gull would
need to build a fuel terminal at a South Island port, which
could cost up to $50 million.
''We need to have access to fuel and we need fuel on the side
of the wharf; somewhere on the east coast of the South Island
would be awesome,'' Mr Bodger said.
Gull imports fully refined fuel into its fuel terminal in
Mount Maunganui, and the most southern Gull outlet is in
''It's a long way from Kaikorai Valley to buy a tank-full,''
An oil terminal in Port Chalmers was unlikely, Mr Bodger
''You can't bring a decent size ship in there - it'll touch
the bottom on the way in.''
A fuel terminal at Lyttelton or Timaru was more likely, but
Bluff had not been ruled out, he said.
Low-priced Gull outlets have forced petrol discounting among
retailers in the North Island, prices being up to 22c a litre
cheaper than in Dunedin.
Z Energy spokeswoman Christine Langdon said this week the
cheapest 91-octane petrol price from its forecourts in New
Zealand was in Whangarei, at $1.95 a litre.
The ''aggressive competition'' had petrol stations matching
prices to remain competitive, she said.
Z Energy also had ''intense discounting'' in areas of
Auckland and Tauranga.
The price for 91-octane petrol in Dunedin this week was $2.17
a litre, or the ''national port price'', the same price as at
about 75% of the Z Energy stations in New Zealand, she said.
A price of $1.95 nationwide was ''economically
''Our net profit is about 4c a litre, so we wouldn't be able
to charge that price everywhere.''
Z Energy needed the profit margin to deliver a fair return to
its shareholders and invest in infrastructure and business,
she said. New Zealand Automobile Association senior policy
analyst Mark Stockdale described it as the ''Gull effect'' -
a discounting ripple effect around low-priced Gull outlets.
''Their prices are always lower and leads to other stations
matching those prices.''
The ''lean operation'' of Gull outlets, such as some being
self-service, allowed it to offer cheaper prices than bigger
fuel retailers, Mr Stockdale said.