Petrol prices have dropped significantly in the last three months, a trend that is expected to continue into the Christmas and New Year period, according to the ACCC - who says you should still be shopping around.
Petrol prices in the five largest cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth) decreased by 3.8 cents per litre (cpl) in the September quarter 2016 to 114.2 cpl. This is lower than the 118.0 cpl of the previous quarter and was 7.5 cpl lower than the annual average of 121.7 cpl in 2015-16.
The "international refiner margin" (that's the difference between the price of refined petrol and the price of crude oil) is now close to the annual average refiner margin of USD$8 per barrel over the last 20 years.
"International factors continue to strongly influence the price at the bowser. A drop in refiner margins in the last quarter has helped to push prices down locally," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. "Australian motorists have benefited as prices have fallen, which will be especially welcome as we move into the busy holiday period."
In the September quarter 2016, taxes represented around 44 per cent of the retail price of petrol in Australia. This is much lower than in other developed countries, according to the ACCC.
"A global comparison has also shown that Australian prices have remained extremely competitive by international standards as a result of the relatively low rate of taxation on fuel," Mr Sims said.
But despite these lower prices, the ACCC says you should still be shopping around and rewarding retailers offering the best-priced fuel. Not only do you get a better price, but it also brings "competitive tension" to the market.
"Improved price transparency from initiatives such as FuelCheck, an online tool with real-time prices for almost every retail site across NSW which commenced in August 2016, as well as existing apps (such as Motormouth, GasBuddy, and those of the petrol retailers), is giving motorists the ability to easily compare prices and get the best deal." Mr Sims said.