Petrol prices fell sharply in December across Australia’s major cities

petrol fuelPetrol prices in Australia fell sharply in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth by the end of 2018, with lows not seen since August 2017.

ACCC’s December quarter 2018 petrol monitoring report showed that daily average prices peaked at 10-year highs of 159.9 cents per litre (cpl) in late-October 2018, before declining by more than 40.0 cpl to 119.2 cpl by the end of 2018.

“Petrol prices dropping so dramatically in time for the end of year holidays was great news for motorists. It’s good to see that retail prices followed the fall in international prices in many locations,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

ACCC said the decline was due to the lower international crude oil and refined petrol prices. Crude oil prices peaked in October 2018, which caused the retail price to increase in Australia. By the end of December, both had declined.

Crude oil prices fell significantly during November and December 2018, due to concerns over a global trade war, with worries that it would reduce economic activity and subsequently demand for crude oil. Compounding this was increased US shale oil production, which boosted global oil supplies and helped offset the impact of the OPEC cartel crude oil production cuts.

Petrol prices didn’t decline as much in other smaller cities of Canberra, Hobart and Darwin, nor in many regional locations. However, prices continued to fall further in almost all regional locations monitored by the ACCC in January 2019.

“We will monitor prices closely in our smaller cities and regional areas and highlight where prices do not reflect the large fall in crude oil prices,” Sims said.

ACCC said Perth was the most expensive of Australia’s five largest cities in the December quarter 2018 at 144.4 cpl, while Sydney had the cheapest prices (137.9 cpl).  Sims said it was important for motorists to stay active in the market and use price cycles to their advantage.

“There are big savings to be had by motorists who use apps to shop around for cheap fuel and who also use price cycle information on the ACCC website to time their purchases. Price transparency through fuel price websites and apps, and price cycle buying tips is important for consumers and has a flow-on effect. As more motorists start using information to their advantage, petrol stations become aware they need to be competitive on price to get business,” Sims added.

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