Fuel hits new high as oil and Aussie dollar diverge

Adrian Black |

A weaker Australian dollar is affecting petrol prices at the moment, an analyst says.
A weaker Australian dollar is affecting petrol prices at the moment, an analyst says.

Australians are paying more than ever at the fuel bowser as a weak Australian dollar collides with rising crude prices, new data shows.

The average price of 91 octane unleaded has soared to 217.92 cents per litre in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, according to Compare the Market data, breaking the $2.17 record set last September.

Brisbane motorists were paying the highest average price for their fuel at $2.30 per litre, and as much as $2.35 per litre.

Melburnians were paying around $2.25 for regular unleaded on Friday while in Sydney motorists were looking at $2.13 a litre.

Perth had the lowest average price of the five major capitals at $1.94 per litre.

Compare the Market’s Chris Ford said there were a number of factors behind the spike, but motorists should hold off from blaming retailers.

“Firstly, some wholesale prices have jumped from an average of $1.65/litre at the start of the year to $1.88/litre now – a 13.9 per cent hike,” he said. 

“The higher the wholesale price, the more retailers fork out for fuel and the more likely that these costs are passed onto motorists.”

Mr Ford said a weaker Australian dollar relative to the greenback was also affecting prices at the pump, along with a stronger price of crude.

“Oil prices are also climbing due to conflict in the Middle East,” he said.

“Oil prices aren’t far behind the highs we saw last September, which could be why we’re now seeing those national average retail price records being smashed.”

Compare the Market believes fuel prices should ease in the coming days.

“Adelaide operates in more regular fuel pricing cycles than cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which means the city-wide average should start to drop in the coming days and bring down that national average,” Mr Ford said.

“It’s a similar story in Perth, where the city-wide average has already dropped 21 cents since Wednesday.”