Petrol prices have hit a four-year high, with motorists urged to shop around for the best deal ahead of the long weekend.
The cost of unleaded petrol has jumped 5.1 per cent to an average 142.5 cents a litre in most capital cities in the past three months, a survey by comparison website comparethemarket.com.au found.
The increase pushes prices to their highest level since mid-2014, with some drivers paying as much as $1.60 a litre, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said concern about the global supply of crude oil had pushed up oil prices, with those rises being passed on at the pump.
“Unfortunately, the international factors pushing up wholesale petrol prices mean that these higher prices are being passed on to Australian motorists at the petrol bowser,” he said on Tuesday.
These factors include Middle East tensions, the potential for renewed US sanctions against Iran and concerns over Venezuelan supply.
Drivers were urged to use fuel price websites and apps to shop around.
“Our first industry report showed that retailers’ prices are not the same — retailers do price differently and have different strategies to get you to fill up with them,” the ACCC’s Mr Sims said.
Australia’s states and territories (except Queensland and Western Australia) mark the Queen’s Birthday holiday this weekend.
The good news is, CommSec thinks petrol prices may have peaked, after weekly price data from the Australian Institute of Petroleum showed a 0.1 cent fall in national average prices last week, to 153.3 cents per litre for unleaded petrol.
“The pump price should fall around 3 cents a litre to around $1.50 a litre in the next fortnight,” CommSec chief economist Craig James said.
“For further falls in petrol prices to occur, Saudi Arabia and Russia will need to be more definite about an easing of the production restraint agreement.”
Average unleaded petrol prices in major capital cities March-June
- Canberra 148 cents a litre
- Brisbane 144.4
- Melbourne 141.1
- Perth 140.9
- Sydney 140.0
- Adelaide 140.0