The bad news? Petrol prices in Australia are higher than ever. The strange news? We’re still one of the cheaper places in the world to buy petrol.
Picture: Getty Images/Scott Barbour
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s annual report into petrol prices, covering the period July 2013 to June 2014, found that the average price for a litre of petrol in the five biggest cities in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) over that time was 150.6 cents. That was up 9.3 cents on the previous year. That average conceals some significant variations, as this chart shows:
54 per cent of that price comes from the raw price of petrol, 34 per cent from taxes, and the remainder from retailer profits. It’s popular to complain about taxes as a component of petrol prices, but that figure has dropped from a high of 56 per cent of the price back in 1999-2000.
While those prices are high, Australia is still the fourth-cheapest country to buy petrol in the OECD. The ACCC is predicting prices are likely to drop, as refined petrol prices have been falling worldwide. Nonetheless, it is continuing its case against petrol retailers for collusion over prices.
The ACCC has also updated its petrol price cycle tracking page, which tracks the fuel cycles in major capital cities. The site now tracks petrol pricing over a 45-day period, which can make it easier to track when prices are likely to be cheaper.
The cycles remain very variable, though, so simple rules like “fuel is always cheaper on Tuesday” are unlikely to apply. Right now, the typical cycle in capital cities is three weeks.