Where petrol prices are headed as the holiday rush winds down

Petrol prices have fallen from New Year's highs, but the situation varies wildly across the nation.

Petrol prices have fallen from New Year's highs, but the situation varies wildly across the nation. Photo: TND

Petrol prices have plunged from New Year’s highs across major capitals, but motorists should take advantage quickly as service stations are already starting to hike prices again.

Daily average petrol costs across Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney have fallen 12.7 per cent in the past three weeks, according to MotorMouth figures, and are now about 171.3 cents per litre (cpl).

It’s all part of a regular cycle in which petrol prices up and down Australia’s eastern coast fluctuate wildly from month to month, meaning motorists need to pick their window carefully.

And the time to fill up is now, with the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) saying bowser prices in Sydney hit the bottom of the cycle last week, a trend mirrored in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Current data suggests capital city prices are much lower than those in key regional holiday hotspots across New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

But petrol has already begun to climb again in Brisbane, according to the latest Motormouth figures.

Sydney has seen average rates across the city rising from 167.7 cpl to 168.7 cpl.

Going up

As the January holidays wind down service stations across the country are starting to hike prices again heading into February, with the latest MotorMouth figures suggesting Australia’s three biggest capitals are headed towards a fresh peak at bowsers late next month.

Petrol will still be relatively cheap over the next week, with the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission advice for motorists filling up in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney being to look around for places where prices haven’t risen.

Major capital petrol prices

Average bowser prices across Sydney are hovering around 168.7 cpl right now, having fallen from 194.3 cpl over the past three weeks.

Australia’s largest city is about 26 days into its current price cycle – the previous one lasted about 56 days – with prices having bottomed out last week, according to the latest NRMA petrol report.

Similarly, Melbourne’s daily average petrol prices are hovering around 172.5 cpl, according to MotorMouth, far lower than the New Year’s peak of 197.4 cpl.

Petrol prices in Brisbane are averaging about 174 cpl right now, down from a high of 197.5 cpl earlier this month.

All in all, it’s a good time for motorists across Australia’s three biggest capitals to fill up.

For the best deals, motorists are advised to shop around using price comparison apps because larger retailers typically raise prices faster than independent service stations.

Smaller capital petrol prices

Hobart, Darwin and Canberra are typically much more stable than the larger capitals.

The cost of petrol across these cities has barely changed since New Year’s Day, but has trended slightly downwards.

Motorists driving back to major capitals from smaller cities after their holidays, however, may save by waiting to fill up on their return, because prices on average are currently lower across Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

Petrol prices in Perth and Adelaide

Petrol retailers in Perth and Adelaide follow different trends to the rest of the country.

In Perth, petrol prices are regulated and follow a repeated pattern of change over a weekly cycle, with bowser charges currently at a high point of 190 cpl.

Petrol prices in Perth should fall in coming days to about 165 cpl.

In Adelaide petrol prices vary even more wildly than they do in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, having fluctuated between about 190 cpl and 161 cpl over the past three weeks.

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