Average petrol prices in Australia’s largest cities are the highest in four years, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), who are encouraging motorists to use comparison websites and apps to find the cheapest deals.
According to the ACCC’s latest petrol monitoring report, average petrol prices increased by seven per cent over the past three months, hitting a four-year high in real terms of around 145 cents per litre (cpl) in the large cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Year on year, the average petrol price in these cities has increased by nearly 10 per cent, following steady falls between the 2013-14 and 2016-17 financial years.
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According to the ACCC, motorists in Brisbane are paying the highest price for petrol out of Australia’s five large cities – a dubious honour that Brisbane has held for 18 of the past 24 months.
While petrol prices also rose in Australia’s regional areas, it was at a slower rate than in the larger cities. In the regional markets, the ACCC found that motorists were paying an average of 4.4 cpl more for their petrol in 2017-18, compared to 5.4 cpl in 2016-17.
While these higher prices were partially driven by increases in international crude oil and refined petrol prices, as well as a lower AUD-USD exchange rate, the ACCC also found that Australian retailers are playing a role, with their average gross retail margins in the cities hitting a record high in 2017-2018 – 50 per cent above the 16-year average since the ACCC began tracking this data.
ACCC chair, Rod Sims, encouraged Australians to shop around for low petrol prices to send a message to petrol retailers:
“Cost of living pressures are high and petrol is a major purchase in weekly budgets. Motorists can manage this cost by using fuel price apps and websites to reward retailers offering the lowest price.”
“If retailers know that price is the number one consideration for consumers when choosing where to buy their petrol, it gives them a very clear incentive to be as competitive as possible with their pricing.”