Waitomo warns motorists to fuel up ahead of unprecedented price hike

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 11, 2022

Waitomo Group managing director Jimmy Ormsby is warning New Zealanders to fuel up quickly ahead of what he says will be an unprecedented price hike.

“Today, we’ve been advised by our supplier that prices are increasing, with the biggest single jump in our wholesale price seen in my time,” he said.

“Despite keeping our own costs as low as we can, so we can deliver the fairest pump prices while ensuring we remain sustainable ourselves, we can’t absorb all that rise ourselves – so pump prices are going to have to respond.

“A jump of this level is going to hurt motorists and businesses big time, so as a Kiwi business, we’re doing everything we can to minimise that pain, including forewarning our customers,” said Ormsby.

“Get in now, fill up as much as you can. We will supply as much as we can at the lower price until 6pm, but from then on, prices will start climbing, reflecting the unprecedented price increase we’ve received.”

Continued uncertainty over the Ukraine crisis, and the ban on Russian fuel by the US and UK has caused supply jitters in the market, with crude oil prices climbing to record levels not seen since 2008. Barrel prices have climbed more than 35% in a week.

“High fuel prices – like grocery prices, and housing prices – are part of the cost-of-living crisis, hitting Kiwis who least can afford it. Come spend a few hours pumping gas with me to get a good taste of how tough it is for many Kiwis just trying to put food on the table,” Ormsby said.

“The impact for Kiwis that can least afford it is what keeps me up at night,” he says. “We’d not be living up to our Waitomo values if we didn’t do what we could to help.”

However, holding off any price increase isn’t sustainable, he said.

“Despite our own costs ramping up, we’ve held off pump price increases as much as we could over last week – and we’ve got form to prove it, with our prices lower by 30 cents compared to competitors in some regions.

“Waitomo’s a Kiwi business like any other business. Cost of our crude or refined product and taxes are the main components of the pump price and we have no control over them. We’ve tightened our belts, kept our overheads and operating costs as low as we can, but we can’t continue to absorb everything passed on to us by our suppliers or Government,” Ormsby said

“That’s why we’re warning our customers of the window of opportunity before 6pm – it’s the fairest we can offer.”

Waitomo’s current pump prices will remain in place until 6pm Friday 11 March at all Waitomo Fuel Stops.