Official: Australian Petrol Prices Are Higher Than Ever

Official: Australian Petrol Prices Are Higher Than Ever

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.



  • Didn’t even read. All you need to know is: prices go up with any change whatsoever.

    – Oil price goes up.
    – Oil price goes down.
    – Carbon tax implemented.
    – Carbon tax removed.
    – 4c/L coupons implemented.
    – 4c/L coupons restricted.
    – A koala farted.

    No matter what, our prices will go up. Cos they can get away with it.

    • I read that as Bill O’Reilly and felt his “You cant explain that” would be an apt way to end it.

    • What happened to the trillion dollar oil deposit they found in SA last year that was going to turn Australia into an exporter. Did anything come of that?

      • Our governments don’t work to provide anything cheap to us or any benefit for living in Australia.

        With all the gas reserves, we should have cheap gas. However they decided to link the domestic gas price to the international market. So as consumers in Australia, we get zero benefit from having a lot of the resource locally. As providing lower prices to Australian’s cuts into corporate earnings. That is all that is important. Any flow on effects to the economy from cheap gas is ignored. It cuts into resource companies bottom line.

        There was actually an article about this I read recently. A bunch of German companies had been setting up shop in Australia because we had cheap gas. Since the linking of domestic gas to the international market. They are moving to the United States. Where they don’t have domestic gas linked and so they get gas cheaper. There’s no reason for the companies to operate in Australia, versus anywhere else in the world if Gas costs the same.

        It’s part of the dishonest ‘global free market’ ideological our politicians push. Most other countries actually protect and provide benefit for industries in their own countries where they can. Here it’s all about, ‘competing globally’ and ignoring the fact this gives the companies a disadvantage because they are competing in tougher circumstances.

        A prime example is the push to privitise Qantas so it can better compete in the global free market. Yet it’s biggest competition are all promdinately state owned, backed with subsidies and that is exactly why Qantas isn’t doing well. It’d then be competing in the free market, but against companies who aren’t. It’s being destroyed by Etihad, but Etihad makes practically no money. Yet our politicians push the line, Qantas isn’t doing well because it isn’t out there in the free market.

        • It’s an economics thing. Most economists think that subsidies and tariffs are more costly than beneficial (and short-term planning), blame them

      • In aus oil and gas are sold at international market rates, we produce lots of gas up above NT. but it is sold back to us at market rates.

  • I actually think right now petrol prices in Melbourne are really good! I paid $.140 at shell with a coupon code for the premium Shell V-Power petrol. Standard unleaded was $1.21.

  • I don’t think it’s just retail ‘profits’ that make up the remainder. There are, you know, costs involved in operating a petrol station (wages, rent, transport for the petrol, safety measures, regulations, taxes, etc).

    • Petrol stations get 4c a litre for petrol, regardless of the pump price, thats why a chocolate bar and a coke will cost you almost $20

  • Hang on, what? Prices here in Melbourne right now are cheaper than they have been in years.

    Definitely not higher than ever before.

      • Right? I filled my car at $1.26/L last night (my car takes E10 though), though I did see it up around $1.35 earlier in the week.

        Overall it’s trending up but the last couple of weeks have been pretty good, at least in my area (sort-of-west Sydney).

    • The writer of this article neglected to mention it, but the actual ACCC report refers to the profits of Australian petrol retailers being higher than ever.

      Globally, oil prices have dropped over 40% in the past 5 months, but here in Australia prices have only dropped maybe 5-10¢? Which is only a 3-5% drop in price. (Prices in AU actually started rising rapidly to over $1.60 as the rest of the world dropped – probably because of the Kurnell Oil Refinery closure? 2nd biggest refinery in Australia of only a few. PLUS you can’t forget the AUD dropping too, so they left prices artificially high to cover potential losses as the dollar kept dropping, which is understandable BUT not for this long.)

      If retailers and distributors weren’t so greedy and were actually honest at keeping their prices competitive, we would currently be seeing petrol prices at around $1/L which would only be a 30% drop from $1.50, still leaving them with a very decent profit.

  • Queensland prices have gone up, before the cheapest you could get would be around $1.20/L and the highest was around the $1.40- $1.50/L mark. Now I immediately pull over if I see anything around $1.35/L and get stuck paying about $1.65/L if I’m running on fumes. Having spent the past weekend in Melbourne, I cried at their petrol prices, the most expensive I saw was about $1.40/L something while driving back from Port Campbell, in the city it was about $1.20/L something, ON A WEEKEND!

  • First time in quite a very long time that I’ve paid 1.42/L for 98, in fact it would have been so long ago that I saw it at that price I may not have even had a car.

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