Australian petrol prices rose by the most in 2 years last week

Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

The average petrol price in Australia rose by 6 cents per litre last week, the largest increase in two years.

And, as shown in this chart from Commsec, not only was the increase enormous, it was also the fourth significant increase in the past six weeks.

Not such a Happy New Year, at least for heavy fuel users.

According to Commsec, citing data released by the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the average national pump price of unleaded petrol rose to 134.3 cents per litre, with prices in both metropolitan and regional areas jumping during the week.

“The metropolitan petrol price rose by 5.2 cents to 134.5 cents per litre while the regional price rose by 7.9 cent to 135.5 cents per litre,” said Commsec, noting that prices in Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart all rose by more than 8 cents per litre over the week.

Brisbane was the only capital to record a drop in the average unleaded fuel price, falling 2 cents to 127.9 cents per litre.

Savanth Sebastian, senior economist at Commsec, said the increase in pump prices followed a surge in global crude oil prices in the wake of OPEC’s decision to reduce daily output in the first half of 2017.

“It should be noted that lift in prices were driven largely by the lift in global oil prices, in addition to the vagaries in the discounting cycle,” he said.

“The early indications are that producers are already notifying customers in Asia, Europe and the US of cuts to oil deliveries from January. Importantly for motorists it means higher pump prices in the medium-term.”

While he believes it will mean pain for motorists over the medium-term, Sebastian says that some near-term relief may be on the way.

“On a positive note for motorists there may be a reprieve on hand in coming weeks,” he says. “In Australian dollar terms, the Singapore unleaded price — which we derive our fuel from — fell by almost $2.50 a barrel in the past two weeks and this should flow through to pump prices in around a fortnight’s time.”

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