The Royal Automobile Association claims higher fuel prices have pumped up the weekly cost of new car ownership in cities and in rural areas like Dubbo.
On Tuesday Dubbo fuel prices for unleaded were sitting around the $1.45 mark, with Dubbo Caltex Star Mart and Dubbo Caltex, Dubbo BP and BP West, and Coles Express Dubbo on the corner of Whylandra and Victoria Street all sitting at $1.45.9 a litre.
But if you travel just forty minutes from Dubbo to Wellington, you will see a $6 gap between the prices for Premium Unleaded Fuel.
Wellington fuel prices were sitting at around $1.39 a litre with the cheapest being $1.35 a litre for unleaded at multiple service stations.
The Royal Automobile Association's annual survey as of July 2019 has put the average weekly cost in 2019 at about $228 for new car ownership, which is up from the $218 a week last year.
The survey is based on expenses such as fuel, maintenance, depreciation, registration, insurance and repayments over a five-year ownership period.
RAA senior manager Mark Borlace says higher average fuel prices have been a significant factor in the increasing cost of car ownership.
According to the Parliament of Australia website, a Senate inquiry found that consumers living outside of metropolitan areas pay more for petrol, sometimes significantly so, due to a number of factors including higher freight costs incurred in longer transportation distances.
The inquiry also found price is influenced by the relative absence of competitive pressures in local markets, both at the retail and wholesale level in regional and rural areas like Dubbo.
Another factor which leads to rural and regional consumers paying more for petrol is the lower turnover rate of petrol at retail sites.
The inquiry suggested a retailer must have sufficient margins to make a profit and keep their business viable. Country service stations typically sell less than half the fuel of a metropolitan service station and unlike metropolitan service stations, those in country areas tend to rely primarily on their petrol sales to maintain the business, so they require higher profit margins.
Mr Borlace said depreciation remains the biggest hit for car buyers.
"It's the biggest budget killer and tends to become painfully apparent when motorists realise how much they'll get for their trade-in car compared to its price when new," Mr Borlace said.
The RAA survey found the Kia Picanto the cheapest new car to run at $111.49 a week, compared to $562.70 for the Tesla Model S electric car, despite more economical fuel costs.