Finance Your Budget Easter petrol prices: Motorists urged to fill up now or pay dearly
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Easter petrol prices: Motorists urged to fill up now or pay dearly

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Motorists are being urged to fill up before the Easter long weekend as retailers prepare to jack up petrol prices across Australia’s biggest cities.

Big price hikes are expected across Sydney and Melbourne in the coming days as retail discounting cycles begin to peak, driven by higher international oil prices.

Average prices in Sydney, which hit 160 cents per litre on Tuesday morning, could rise to 170 cents over the coming days, Commonwealth Bank senior economist Ryan Felsman said.

Prices are also rising in Melbourne, topping 140 cents per litre on Tuesday morning and rising fast.

“Drivers should fill up their cars over the next couple of days or risk paying through the nose over the Easter holiday weekend,” Mr Felsman said in a research note on Monday.

Average prices in Brisbane, meanwhile, have already risen to levels not seen since before the pandemic, reaching 167 cents per litre on Tuesday, according to tracking service MotorMouth.

Two main factors are driving the increases: Local pricing cycles reaching their peak, and a medium-term recovery in global oil prices that’s supporting higher peaks than we saw last year.

Mr Felsman told TND these global oil prices would flow through to higher bowser prices over the coming months, with a meeting of major oil producers on Thursday expected to keep a lid on supply for the time being.

Last week the Singapore gasoline price – a benchmark for Australian bowser prices – rose to $2.23 per litre, a 13-month high.

“Russia came out last night and said they want to continue to restrain supply. That’s going to have a bigger influence than the Suez Canal situation,” Mr Felsman said.

The good news for consumers is that shopping around could save them hundreds of dollars every year.

In 2019, the ACCC found motorists could save $350 a year by avoiding big-name brands.

Petrol prices: How the big cities are tracking

Average unleaded prices hit 167 cents per litre in Brisbane on Tuesday and are expected to climb higher heading into Easter.

However, Greater Brisbane will be in lockdown until at least Thursday afternoon, with the possibility of it being extended.

Prices should ease next week, but this is expected to occur gradually.

Average unleaded prices reached 138.4 cents per litre in Melbourne on Tuesday and are expected to climb further over the coming days.

Motorists should fill up as soon as possible to avoid even higher prices.

“We’re encouraging Melbourne motorists to fill up now,” Mr Felsman said.

Shopping around will help too, as some suburbs, particularly those in the east and near to St Kilda, are increasing prices faster than others.

Prices reached 160 cents per litre in parts of Sydney on Tuesday morning and are again expected to rise further heading into Easter.

Mr Felsman tips prices will settle between 160 and 170 cents per litre this week – prices not seen since before the pandemic in 2019.

Motorists should fill up as soon as possible to beat the coming price surge.

“The discounting cycle in Sydney has now reached its three-week limit … prices are starting to lift,” Mr Felsman said.

Prices in Adelaide increased to 139 cents per litre on average on Monday and are expected to rise much further before Easter.

The ACCC is advising motorists to shop around as some retailers might not have increased prices yet. Though that’s unlikely to last.

In other capital cities, prices are relatively stable on a week-to-week basis, having broadly tracked global oil prices in recent weeks.

The exception is Perth, which has a regulated market, ensuring prices rise and fall in a predictable pattern and peak every Wednesday.

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