A record price for petrol has fuelled concern among businesses, with some suggesting the need for increased adoption of sustainable methods.
By mid April the average price for unleaded petrol rose to 151.7 cents according to data from the Australian Institute of Petroleum, a representative body for the Australian petroleum industry.
This was the highest average petrol price in 3.5 years, and the impact of high prices has not been lost on the local community.
Owner of Persian Rug Bazaar, Arman Jalili, said high petrol prices are having a chain effect on retail.
“When you spend more money on the things you need, like petrol… And your wages don’t change. It’s going to affect the retail.”
He said his Rozelle store particularly suffers because of the luxury status of rugs.
“You can live without a rug, you can!” he said. “If you have a car you must put petrol in it for your job.”
Liberal councillor Shayne Mallard described the upward trajectory of petrol, diesel and oil prices as “inevitable”.
“This is not new, there was an oil crisis in the 1970s. It was short term, but companies back then had to dramatically rethink how they used oil and fuel,” he said.
“That’s been put off for a while because we’ve found new sources of cheap fuel. But it seems to me that the next generation or the generation we’re in now is going to have deal with this a bit more realistically and long-term.”
He said good businesses are those considering sustainability issues holistically, including transport and fuel use.
“I own a catering company and we’re very much focused on reducing transport costs and having fuel-efficient vehicles and not making unnecessary trips and trying to get suppliers delivering the minimum amount of times that they have to.”
Chair of the Surry Hills Business Alliance, Brian Adams, said shop owners have been receiving fewer regular customers. He said petrol costs and parking issues are responsible.
“Many motorists pay one hundred dollars or more a week to drive their car or wagon,” he said.
“People think twice about jumping in a car to shop.”
Cr Mallard said Council policies trying to reduce private vehicle use into the city will benefit small businesses which rely on transportation, like caterers, couriers, and florists.
“If there’s reduced private vehicles, there’s reduced congestion so [business vehicles] use less fuel getting into the city.”
By Dominic Dietrich