Petrol prices nudge $2 a litre for King’s Birthday long weekend

Petrol prices are around $2 a litre ahead of the long weekend, with bowsers peaking across Australia’s big cities earlier this week.

Motormouth figures show prices now average around $1.98 per litre in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – up 16 per cent in two weeks.

Bowsers have come off earlier peaks at the start of the week, but won’t come far off their previous highs over the long weekend.

The National Road Motorists Association (NRMA) says families in Sydney travelling to regional areas should think about trying to fill up at their destination, based on local pricing figures.

NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said oil companies should drop the price of petrol well before the long weekend, so motorists avoid peaks.

“Every household has borne the brunt of the high fuel costs over the last year and, as evidenced by this latest survey of NRMA business members, small businesses that are the backbone of our economy have also been hit hard,” he said.

“Cost-of-living pressures are challenge number one in Australia today and we don’t want Australians being unnecessarily over-charged for fuel, which is why we want oil companies to begin dropping their prices after having hit the high point of the cycle just before the long weekend.”

Source: Motormouth (click to enlarge).

Oil outlook uncertain 

The longer-term outlook for petrol prices remains uncertain amid talks between Iran and the United States to increase supplies and a move from Saudi Arabia to cut production last weekend.

That move, which is expected to reduce global supply by about 1 per cent, pushed WTI crude oil prices to more than US$70 ($104) a barrel earlier this week.

“We continue to see Saudi Arabia’s actions guided by keeping Brent futures above at least $US70/bbl and ideally above $US75/bbl,” Commonwealth Bank commodities analyst Vivek Dhar said on Friday.

However, oil prices fell even more later in the week amid news that progress has been made in talks between the United States and Iran, which could see Iranian oil supplies enter global markets in greater quantities.

“If a US‑Iran deal was imminent, it could see Iran’s oil export’s increase substantially,” Mr Dhar said.

“And there is scope for this to increase with more time if Iran’s oil exports are able to rise to levels before sanctions on Iran were re‑imposed in 2018.”

The global oil outlook is pivotal for local motorists because Australia imports most of its refined petrol.

It takes about two weeks for changes in oil prices to begin flowing to local motorists, though the effects can often be marked by wild swings in petrol price cycles in major east coast city markets.

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