Record fuel prices to hit some capitals this long weekend


If you plan on packing up the car and heading away for the long weekend, be prepared to feel the pinch at the petrol bowser.

Motorists can expect to pay well over $2 a litre for regular unleaded in many locations around the country, with the Australia-wide average for petrol already at $2.11 on Tuesday morning.

With prices expected to climb even further in some cities as the three-day weekend nears, it's going to become even harder to find cheaper fuel in some areas.

where to find cheap petrol this october long weekend

But just how much you pay will depend on a variety of factors, such as which city you're filling up in.

At present, both Melbourne and Adelaide boast some of the most expensive prices for fuel in the country, but they're expected to be overtaken as the end of the week approaches.

While prices in Adelaide are expected to fall, more stations across Greater Melbourne are tipped to increase prices, meaning there's still a small window of opportunity to fill up for less.

How much are Aussies paying for fuel?

The new peak price for regular unleaded in Greater Brisbane is currently $2.37 a litre - a record for the River City. This price is expected to spread fast across Queensland's capital over the coming week, so motorists should ideally fill up now for cheaper where they can.

It's a similar story in Perth, where prices are again on the rise. By Wednesday, prices in Greater Perth could also be as high as $2.37 a litre, so it's vital to fill up for cheaper where you can or risk forking out more over the long weekend.

Meanwhile, the average price for fuel in Greater Sydney is currently $2.13 a litre, but there's been a 43-cent difference between the cheapest and most expensive prices over the last week. There's a potential to save $21.50 by filling up a 50-litre tank at the cheapest location versus the most expensive.

Unfortunately for Sydney drivers, the normal rate of discounting has slowed down considerably, so it's taking longer than it has in the past for those prices at the bowser to drop after the peak of the pricing cycle. Over the past week, prices have only dropped by around 5 cents a litre across the Harbour City.

Why is petrol so expensive lately?

While high prices in the lead-up to a long weekend are never ideal, they're likely something we'll need to get used to for the remainder of 2023.

We're seeing a shorter time between fuel price cycles across Australia right now, meaning there's less time for motorists to enjoy discounted prices at the petrol pump.

Oil prices have climbed nearly 30% in the last three months, which will also impact the price we pay. The last time our oil benchmarks were this high was last November, when Australian motorists were paying more than $2 a litre on average for regular unleaded.

The Australian dollar also continues to lose ground on the US dollar, affecting Australia's purchasing power.

Wholesale prices have increased by around 17 cents a litre since July, which also influences the price retailers set for their fuel. Coupled with the indexation in the fuel excise, which is up about 1.1 cents per litre to 48.8 cents per litre, these higher prices could continue to hurt the hip pocket.

Is it worth shopping around for cheaper fuel?

Thankfully, there are ways to sniff out a bargain - even when prices increase.

There are many fuel comparison apps available, including PetrolSpy, Simples, Motormouth, FuelMap and Fuel Check, that allow you to compare fuel prices in your area and look for a better deal.

Rather than going to your usual servo, you may be able to save significantly by driving a few minutes up the road. This is also handy if you're filling up in an unfamiliar area over the long weekend.

The major supermarkets offer fuel discounts if you spend a certain amount in their stores, you may be entitled to discounts through your roadside assistance programs and there may even be offers available through your insurance or energy retailer.

Australians have been great at comparing prices elsewhere, so now's the time for them to take the wheel when it comes to the price they pay for fuel.

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Chris Ford is the general manager of media and communications at Compare the Market. He studied journalism at the University of Queensland, and has more than 13 years' experience in media.
Julia Hopewell
September 27, 2023 7.30pm

Another incompetent report. Yet again our state of Tasmania is omitted from any mention in this article about fuel prices in " our capital cities"; - despite Tasmania having (nearly always) the worst prices of the lot.

Insulting and sloppy reporting