How Expensive Is Australian Petrol?

How Expensive Is Australian Petrol?

Complaining about petrol prices is a national sport, but it’s an international problem. This infographic, compiled by car tech blog Between The Axles, reminds us that no matter how badly off we think we are, it could be worse. We’re not paying $2.14 a litre like the Norwegians.

Unfortunately, petrol isn’t something we can import for less or pirate across peer-to-peer networks (unlike books or music), so we can’t exploit those cheaper South American prices. Indeed, despite that quoted average cost, pricing isn’t even consistent between different states or in different cities depending on the day of the week. As well, the global figures on their own aren’t meaningful; cheaper petrol in Africa won’t help much if you’re only earning a few dollars a day. Average disposable income matters just as much as the sticker price.

Ultimately, if you want to save money on petrol, you need to purchase a more efficient car and drive less. Nothing else will help much.

How much is a litre of unleaded petrol around the world? [Between The Axles]


  • It’s not a “problem” that petrol’s expensive. On the contrary, our petrol is far too cheap. More expensive = more incentive for fuel economy.

    • No, I enjoy driving a sports car.
      I pay enough in the initial purchase and maintenance fees let alone 98 petrol.

      I don’t think i should be ‘forced’ having to time some eco crap box.

      some people enjoy driving.

      • @james: if you want to drive a thirsty car, you should have to pay for the environmental damage you cause in doing so. You don’t expect to be allowed to bounce your sports car off other cars without paying for the damage. Same thing.

        • Rubbish. 99% of global pollution is generated by heavy industry. Of that remaining 1% Australia is still under average (per capita) for global CO2 emissions.

          • No, I think we’re high per capita, but low per unit land area.

            But yeah, he paid a shitload more in car tax on the purchase, that really should cover it.

          • Australia’s dreadful environmental record, both in carbon dioxide emissions and species extinctions, along with runaway climate change in the southwest where rainfall is falling one percent every year, is proof petrol is not too expensive.

            In fact, if one bases acceptable energy consumption for humans on the energy consumption of native animals (see “”), petrol in Australia should be astronomically expensive compared to countries like Norway where very young soils allow native animal species to consume twice as much energy as Australia’s marsupials. More than that, Australia should not have the highest, but the lowest, per capita greenhouse emissions in the world!

            Especially when one considers the extreme scarcity and variability of Australia’s fresh water resources (consider that the Danube alone has twice as much runoff as all of extratropical mainland Australia) one comes to the conclusion that Australians should be paying more for their fuel than the combined price of all countries in Eurasia, the Americas or New Zealand! One also concludes that unless Australia is forced by international pressure to meet a rigid zero-emissions energy target, absolutely nothing can be gained be emissions reductions in Eurasia, the Americas or New Zealand.

          • Wrong again. Livestock and other animals accound for the highest amount of carbon pollution.

        • Uneducated comment Bob……. Most modern “sports cars” are in fact very fuel efficient when driven in normal use. The problem is the urban tractors – you know, Mum in the massive SUV dropping kids at school then heading off to the cafe strip.

        • Your wrong Mr Brown. As far as emissions go, mankind has such a minuscule influence on the environment. It’s like trying to find the percentage of times that politicians are telling the truth.

      • despite the flaming you’ve had from those that would clearly take a bike ride for fun then cruise a twisty road with a loud exhaust and more bass then your ears should be subjected to,i agree ,raising petrol prices is not the answer, subsidise eco cars and alternatives to petrol and get those who want to switch to do so by make it more enticing dont make it more expensive for those that enjoy it. those who truely enjoy it and want to do it will just pay the extra (until it get into rich only territory) the only people who are going to get affect by price raises is the poor who cant afford to switch even if they wanted to.

      • Yes James, and those of us that do should be happy to pay a lot more than others. I’d happily pay double for petrol if it got half the other idiots off the road. BTW, I also enjoy driving a sports car but it only cost me $8500 and it is cheap as chips to run. You don’t need an expensive car to enjoy driving, as Toyota have recently shown with the new 86 starting at less than 30 grand.

    • The problem Bob is that our greedy governments aren’t subsidising the eco cars enough and nor are they even backing cleaner fuels enough. I was buying E10 at my local servo because it was greener and also had a higher octane than regular unleaded but the idiots took that away and replaced it with diesel when they should have replaced the regular unleaded. I can’t even buy E10 in town any more. On top of all that, it’s been well documented that man kinds contribution to greenhouse gases is actually extremely small and that nature itself has a far greater impact.

    • This thinking reminds me of putting up the price of cigarettes to deter users. I disagree with it in practice, but I can see why people would think it would work.

  • I’d be interested to see the average distance travelled per year too. No doubt it’ll be a function of price to some extent, but even so there are some countries on this list that are quite small and also have fantastic public transport options.

    • Lol no, I pay taxes/rego that’s enough. Most eco cars cause more damage to the environment in the manufacturing process, Most high end sports cars have lots of manual human involvement in the manufacturing process = Less harm to the environment.

      in the end eco/sports both as bad as each other.

      • No, it’s not enough. Each litre of petrol causes a quantum of global warming. The only non-Stalinist way to reduce use is to make petrol more expensive. Reducing manufacturing emissions is met by the same means (ie. you price the damage aka externalities). It’s basic economics, accepted now so universally (other than by a few Lib/Tea Party wingnuts) that putting price signals on fossil fuels is just going to happen, everywhere. There’s an unstoppable torrent of legislation worldwide.

  • If that method was put in place the only rich would be able to enjoy such a thing.

    The cost of living is high enough, it’s already hard as it is o enjoy these things.

    • @james: if too many people ‘enjoy these things’, vast numbers of Bangladeshis and others will lose their homes as sea levels rise (one amongst many other consequences). Presumably most of the people ‘enjoying these things’ won’t welcome floods of millions of refugees.
      Actions have consequences. The world is deciding, albeit too slowly, that those who create climatic consequences for the sake of minor pleasures, should pay for it. That will mean much, much higher petrol prices. That’s an inevitability, and a good one.

      • @Bob….the sea level rise is a natural cycle. The Ice caps on Mars are melting like earth, and I’m quite sure my car did not cause that. Get educated!

        • Exactly! But Mr Bob Brown Greenie over there won’t believe you because he’s committed to his belief. The only thing which makes sense is that if he truly believes all that rubbish then he should logically believe that every man, woman and child should go live in caves without any technology whatsoever.

  • We are way overprices in Australia, we have enough oil to provide our own fuel but we are linked to the international price which pushes things up allot… why we are on the higher end of the scale when it comes to prices I don’t understand… you have also left out allot of the cheaper countries but yet includes the expensive ones like you mentioned the Norwegians which by no means should be a benchmark compared to us… One thing I hate in Australia is how to always find the most expensive to compare ourself to and say well I guess we are not that bad when in fact cost of living in Australia about 10-15 years ago we use to be on the bottom end of the scales in most things yet I can’t find out why we are on the top end of all the scales now days and we don’t seem to have any better services but pay a heck of a lot more now days..etc..etc..

    • +1

      I don’t mind paying for things, but would like to see some return. Most definitely not just petrol: electricity, water bills are always increasing. At least I hear in Sweden that the high taxes they pay, the money goes back to the public.

      Also is there any explanation as to why petrol prices can fluctuate so much? Oh well…some things remain a mystery I guess 🙂

    • Australia is a net importer of refined oil products and of crude oil. Our domestic supply peaked back in 2000. Your argument that we produce all we need is not supported by the available data.

  • and petrol has just risen this week when the price of oil dropped & our dollar rose against the US, asked at Caltex why, their response “we don’t know” better chance of getting a straight answer out of Tony Abbott than those monkey’s.

    • Ah the ‘ol “Today Tonight” technique. Go into a store, blindside a lowly employee and ask them why their company does bad things / charges more / is evil and use the “Um, I don’t know, I just work here” to form a negative case against them.

      Not saying you did this, but I know TT do..

  • i knew we weren’t the highest but i didn’t know we were that high above average either, but i dont really even care about that, i love cars they are my passion and hobby i have no issue spending a large amount of money on petrol, just like the greenies can spend thousands on some carbon kevlar frame bicycle, the thing that annoys me about petrol prices is the difference around the country, or worse area to area in one city, sure i under stand that getting petrol that arrives in WA to NSW is going to cost something but not the massive amounts we see today, and dont get me started on weekend price gouges, no other industry does this or would get away with it but somehow petrol companies do

  • I’m not changing the way i do things unless the government subsidises eco friendly cars properly. Rego is the same for an electric car, a Honda Jazz and a V8 dinosaur? Gimme a break.

  • You need to include the size of the country. I know in the UK petrol is more expensive but it is also a way smaller in size so they don’t need their cars as much as you can walk to a lot of destinations and there public transport is leaps and bounds ahead of ours. We might pay less but have to fill up more as we have a larger distance to cover.

  • I don’t understand why we don’t dump petrol use altogether and Industrialise Bio- Diesel.
    It’s renewable and contrary to popular belief will run in current diesel engines with little or no modification and it has be proven that they run more efficiently and cleaner.
    And trust me a turbo diesel powered sports car goes just as hard as the petrol version.

    • Bio-diesel results in forest destruction in sensitive areas such as the Amazon and Indonesia.
      Go nuclear or reduce your personal energy usage are really the only two choices.

  • It’s not the price of the fuel that pissed me off… It’s the 20c a week difference in the price cycle in the major cities… NT has a 2c to 4c price cycle. Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have a 20c price cycle.

    I reckon if they cut out the price cycle, people wouldn’t be complaining anywhere near as much.

  • I agree that petrol prices is Australia are high, but from some perspectives it comes down to:

    a) The government: Charging taxes on each litre of petrol we consume. We already pay a exrta-ordinary amount of taxes, from income tax, car registration tax and GST. Our government are selling off our infrastructure to cover their debts which in the end costs us more every day…. for instance consider electricity prices. I agree with some form of tax, but making it more expensive for us to live every day is’nt the answer.

    b) Public transport. We, in Sydney for one, have extremely bad public transport for users anywhere except the inner west and northern suburbs. I personally, have been able to catch transport with a combination of bus’, trains and walking but it would take me over 1.5 hours to get to work, where as with driving I can get here in 20 minutes. This is not a massive problem for me, I prefer to drive, but if they corrected the public transport instead of puting in dis-incentives for people to drive it would make for better overall expereience. Also, if people choose to travel by public transport which is saving the environment, why do the government feel they should charge for it. They charge us to drive, and they charge us not to drive….. we can’t win.

    Anyway, I will get off my high horse now……

  • Discussions about car efficiency etc. aside, this is a TERRIBLE infographic. They may as well have made a list, at least then it would be easier to compare prices in different countries. If they wanted to colour in a map at least make the colours correspond to the data they’re trying to display? Light shades for cheap countries, dark shade for expensive? Would be SO MUCH MORE informative! Amazing how useless this picture is.

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