By Brendan Rees
Petrol price cycles have frustrated motorists as they feel the squeeze on household incomes but a chief economist says the average unleaded prices were down.
In the past week, the average unleaded fuel price for Melbourne was down by 4.4 cents to 125.7c a litre, according to CommSec’s Craig James.
“Discounting cycles may be shifting but there is still good news for motorists – at least for now,” a weekly insights note from Mr James issued on 3 December stated.
It added: “Cheaper prices are still possible in the next fortnight. Prices near $1.10 a litre can’t be ruled out for the biggest petrol discounters,”
According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of unleaded petrol fell by 3.8 cents to 134.1 cents a litre.
However, Petrolspy.com showed Caltex South Gippsland Highway in Cranbourne had unleaded fuel at 149.9c a litre on Friday 7 December, while 7-Eleven on Evans Road in Cranbourne West was 143.9c and Woolworths Caltex on Thompsons Road at 149.9c a litre on Friday 7 December.
The cheapest prices were APCO Dandenong-Hastings Road in Cranbourne at 118.9c, and United at the corner of Clarendon Street and High Street in Cranbourne at 119.9c a litre. United in Dandenong Hastings Highway in Lynbrook was 120.9c a litre.
Cranbourne resident Aaron Grant said he just “don’t see the fairness” in the petrol hikes.
“We don’t have a choice but to pay the price,” he said.
Mr Grant, 24, said he paid up to $105 on average to fill his Holden SV6 for unleaded that was 1.50c a litre.
“Someone like myself; when you’re paying a mortgage as well as insurance costs, and petrol costs, it does not help when the petrol goes up because you’re paying $20 to $30 more a week.”
ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said while the retailers’ use of price cycles to maximise profits was not illegal it “really infuriates drivers as they can see no reason for them to exist.”
“There’s a common perception that all retailers put their prices up or down at exactly the same time, but our research shows this isn’t the case,” he said.
RACV vehicle engineering manager Michael Case said motorists were advised to “top up” rather than filing up when prices were high.
“RACV provides fuel price information for motorists to find the cheapest prices in their area or along their journey. As a general guide, regular searches for the cheapest fuel can save motorists hundreds of dollars a year,” he said.
He added fuel prices were influenced by underlying changes in world oil prices.
The RACV website listed Melbourne’s average unleaded fuel price on Friday 7 December as 142.1c a litre.