ACCC report reveals extent of COVID-19 hit to petrol

New figures from the ACCC show just how hard petrol has been hit by COVID-19.

The consumer watchdog’s petrol monitoring report found Australia experienced the lowest monthly average petrol prices on record in April.

Record lows were experienced across Australia’s five largest cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth), where the average price fell to just $102.6 cents per litre (cpl).

Further,the ACCC found seven-day rolling average prices fell below $1 per litre since March, 2005 and a reached a low of just 92.4 cpl. Petrol sales volumes were found to be 43% lower than the monthly average sales of the same period in 2019.

While between January-May this year, weekly average retail prices were found to have dropped by 40 cpl in half of the 190 regional locations examined by the ACCC’s fuel monitoring.

The low prices were driven largely by the sudden drop in fuel demand at the peak of COVID-19 restrictions, which saw travel bans and a widespread shift to working from home. As well as tensions between the OPEC cartel in March over calls to cut crude oil production in response to the sudden drop in demand, the resulting drop in petrol prices of which took several weeks to flow onto the Australian market.

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