Relief for motorists as fuel prices hit 15-month low

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Motorists in major Australian cities have recently enjoyed the cheapest fuel prices since August 2017, according to the latest report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth experienced an average price drop of 40 cents per litre (cpl) in December 2018, with prices falling from a 10-year high of 159.9 cents per litre in October 2018, the ACCC’s December quarter petrol monitoring report shows.

The ACCC collects retail petrol prices for all capital cities and over 190 regional locations across Australia.

“Petrol prices dropping so dramatically in time for the end of year holidays was great news for motorists,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

“It’s good to see that retail prices followed the fall in international prices in many locations.”

Smaller capital cities Canberra, Hobart and Darwin, in addition to many regional areas, also experienced a price drop, although not as significant as the major urban areas.

The ACCC also states that fuel prices are continuing to fall in January 2019.

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

International crude oil prices were behind the October peak before concerns over a global trade war and reduced economic activity saw the price for petrol drop in November and December 2018.

The report also found that both diesel and LPG prices in the five big capital cities had increased in the December quarter, with diesel retailing on average at 158.1 cpl, and LPG retailing on average for 88.4 cpl.

Going the extra mile for cheap fuel

With 55% of motorists stating that the cost of fuel was a major strain on their finances, according to a Canstar Blue survey, the ACCC encourages Aussies to shop around and use price cycles to save at the petrol bowser.

“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,” said Mr. Sims.

“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 more aware they need to be competitive to get business.”

The Canstar Blue survey also found that half of motorists (49%) usually fill up at the same petrol station regardless of the price. About one in five (22%) have an app that allows them to monitor fuel prices.

More than half of motorists surveyed (56%) said they would be willing to drive a little further if it meant saving money on fuel.

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