Petrol prices: Motorists urged to fill up before Easter

Petrol prices have fallen dramatically but are expected to rise again soon.

Petrol prices have fallen dramatically but are expected to rise again soon. Photo: Getty

Motorists are being urged to fill up their tanks before Easter to take advantage of lower petrol prices before they rise again.

Australia’s record bowser squeeze has unwound over the past two weeks as tax cuts, easing global oil prices and a dip in local promotional cycles have flowed through to retailers.

The average weekly petrol price has now fallen 32.4 cents per litre (cpl) in the two weeks since the federal budget halved the fuel excise for six months – the fastest falls in recorded history.

Retail data shows the vast majority of service stations have now passed on the 22.1 cpl tax cut, which will be maintained for six months.

But some service stations still haven’t reduced their prices.

The benefit of easing fuel costs should also continue to flow through to motorists, but experts warn the next rise in market cycles across major east coast cities like Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney is just around the corner.

It means prices will likely start to rise again sooner rather than later, underscoring why motorists should fill up now before the Easter long weekend.

“Motorists on Australia’s east coast should be on guard with the retail petrol price discounting cycle now four weeks old,” CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said in a statement.

“Despite the fall in international fuel costs, a price hike in both Brisbane and Sydney appears imminent. Motorists should fill up their tanks ahead of the Easter long weekend.”

Bowsers plunge

The average petrol price across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane has fallen 15.4 per cent from 206.5 cpl to 174.6 cpl since Treasurer Josh Frydenberg cut fuel tax in the budget, according to MotorMouth data.

Source: MotorMouth (click to enlarge)

Prices have fallen about 18 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne and by 11.1 per cent in Brisbane as global oil prices have fallen and servos gradually passed through lower taxes to motorists.

However, motorists in Brisbane are still paying almost $2 a litre, much more than in February.

Mr Frydenberg claimed the tax cuts would be passed on within two weeks, which appears to have happened based on the headline price falls.

However, service station data from One Big Switch and Ruckus Energy shows some retailers have yet to decrease their prices by 22.1 cpl.

The data shows 775 servos have cut prices by more than 40 cpl since the budget. But more than 600 have not reduced prices by 22.1 cpl.

At least 113 servos have not decreased prices at all, the data reveals.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is monitoring the market to ensure retailers pass on the cuts.

But it has warned that some servos may take time to churn through existing petrol stocks that were taxed at the full rate more than two weeks ago.

These delays are important, because before long regular market cycles will again start pushing up prices across major capital city markets.

These cities are unique in that petrol prices vary wildly from month to month as retailers raise and reduce prices in response to localised competitive pressures.

The current discounting cycle is now four weeks old, meaning we’re due for prices to increase.

How far they rise from their current lows is impossible to say, but ongoing falls in global oil prices should cushion the blow.

Brent crude prices fell by 1.5 per cent to $US102.8 ($138) a barrel last week, having now given up almost all of the gains since Russia expanded its invasion of Ukraine in late February.

It takes about two weeks for falls in oil prices to flow through to most motorists in Australia.

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