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Rising Petrol Costs: The Australian Dilemma

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

As of February 2018, petrol prices in Australia hit their highest point in two years. This hike hit residents, travellers and companies with outrageous gross retail margins that subsequently saw a significant jump - especially in Australia’s five largest cities.

Unsurprisingly, this comes as bad news for all motorists. This month, we take a look at some of the reasoning behind the increase in petrol prices across Australia and what it means for transport moving forward. Rising Petrol Costs: The Australian Dilemma

In a February 2018 article by The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims encourages Australians to fight back, recommending the use of apps and fuel price websites to locate the best local prices and track the best times to purchase fuel.

A June 2018 article from The Age recommends using the following petrol tracking sites and apps for the best results:

  • Fuel Map: Free smartphone app with maps, slide-in site lists, station details and a fuel log book.

  • 7-Eleven Fuel: Free smartphone app that allows you to choose your fuel type, find the best local prices at 7-Eleven fuel stores, register for a 7-Eleven card and load it with cash, and select your litres, locking in the price for up to 7 days. Scan your Fuel Lock Voucher at the counter of any 7-Eleven fuel store in Australia to redeem.

  • PetrolSpy: Made in Australia, users of this free smartphone app and website can search for user-reported petrol prices in Australia’s largest cities using the map, postcode or suburb.

  • MotorMouth: Free smartphone app with location-based pricing for stations near you, market trends and forecasts, and reward credits for recording the price of fuel.

Reasoning & Reserves

Reportedly costing motorists an additional $750 million per year, millions of residents are seeking further reasoning to justify the sudden increase in petrol costs across the country. In fact, according to CommSec chief economist, Craig James, fuel costs in Australia have surpassed other major household expenses such as health insurance and electricity bills, and people aren’t happy.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims explains that while an increase in fuel costs is somewhat due to rising Brent crude oil prices and the falling of the Australian dollar, yet it “does not explain the bulk of the increase.”

Alternately, Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, according to a May 2018 article by SBS News, announced a review of Australia’s fuel security, stating possible risks partially stemming from the ongoing conflict in Syria. While Australia does not import crude oil directly from Syria, it is paying more to import barrels to process in domestic refineries as a result of these conflicts.

In another somewhat startling finding, the International Energy Agency (IEA) requires member countries - including Australia - to have a minimum of 90 days worth of crude oil in reserve, including immediate access to that reserve. It appears that the government has failed to meet the 90 day mandate since 2012. As of January 2018, Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg reports that Australia holds 49.6 IEA-days worth of oil stockholdings, while other reports put the number of reserve petrol days closer to 23.

Calculating Costs

For our customers’ sake, we recommend scoping out further petrol cost details on the Truck Operating Costs Calculator from SafeRates.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve fuel efficiency, talk to our specialist team about undertaking a wheel alignment on 1300 655 050 or learn more about how you could save money with the Big Wheels Fuel, Tyre & Emissions Program here.

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