Petrol prices remain high despite December decline

Quarterly average retail petrol prices in Australia’s five largest cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) were 194.9 cents per litre (cpl).

In December, monthly average retail prices decreased to 186.6 cpl from 206.6 cpl in September but have trended upwards in January and February 2024 on the back of higher international benchmark prices in the first two months of the year, revealed the ACCC’s quarterly petrol monitoring report.

Anna Brakey, Commissioner at the ACCC, said while average retail petrol prices in the five largest cities decreased in the quarter, they were still at relatively high levels after international factors drove average retail prices to the highest on record in nominal terms in the September quarter 2023.

“We encourage motorists to take advantage of fuel price apps and websites which provide near real-time fuel price information to find lower priced petrol.

“Motorists in the five largest cities can stay informed about petrol price movements and refer to price charts on the ACCC website to help them fill up when prices appear to be around the lowest point in the cycle.”

Changes in Australian retail petrol prices are largely determined by international refined petrol prices that are driven by international crude oil prices, and the AUD–USD exchange rate. 

The price of Singapore Mogas 95 Unleaded (Mogas 95) is the price of refined petrol in the Asia-Pacific region and is the relevant benchmark for petrol prices in Australia. Both Mogas 95 and crude oil prices were lower in the December quarter of 2023.

“On a quarterly average basis, the impact of the lower Mogas 95 prices was partly offset by a lower AUD-USD exchange rate, higher wholesale costs and margins and higher gross indicative retail differences,” said Brakey.

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