Petrol price gouging at an all-time high

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 25, 2018

In the last quarter, The ACCC found the average price of petrol in most Australian capital cities climbed 12.6% per litre to 135.1 cents/per litre.

Motorists are being urged to shop around and find the best deals at petrol stations after fuel prices hit their highest level since 2015. This compares to a gap of 5.2 cents per litre the previous quarter, and the yearly average in 2017 of 5.0 cents per litre.

Two thirds of the petrol price increase was caused by higher worldwide crude oil and refined petrol prices and a lower AUD-USD exchange rate. That was the highest average margin recorded since the ACCC began monitoring prices and was more than 4cpl higher than the average over the past 15 years.

Record gross retail margins had been blamed for the price hikes - with an average of 14.2cpl across the five major cities.

RACQ analysis revealed gross retail margins in Brisbane on Wednesday matched the all-time record high of 28cpl.

"The ACCC accepts that some of the increase in gross retails margins has been due to increased costs; the information we have, however, indicates that this contribution does not explain the bulk of the increase".

But it noted "the ACCC has not received sufficient information from retailers on a consistent basis to quantify this".

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says shopping around and timing petrol top-ups during the price cycle encourages retailers to become more competitive.

"Motorists can fight back against these high prices by using fuel price websites and apps to shop around".

"Retail prices in the larger capital cities can vary by around 25 cents per litre to 30 cents per litre near the time that price cycles are increasing".

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