'Santa is delivering for motorists': Drivers urged to delay filling up


December 20, 2018 16:37:25

Motorists are being advised to delay filling up their cars until closer to Christmas to take advantage of falling petrol prices.

Key points:

  • Petrol prices are down after hitting a 10-year high in October
  • ACCC says by late November petrol was $1.28 — the lowest in more than a year
  • Consumer watchdog says prices are likely to keep falling until late December

The latest quarterly report by Australian’s consumer watchdog shows petrol prices hit a 10-year high in October, but have fallen significantly since then.

Prices continue to fall in major capital cities, according to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims.

“Santa Claus is delivering for Australian motorists with prices that should be around $1.25 a litre and I think they’ve got further to fall in the run-up to Christmas,” Mr Sims said.

“Drivers, if they can, should delay filling up until closer to Christmas. We do not expect prices in these cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide) to increase until later in December.”

“Drivers in Perth should fill up on Christmas Eve as Monday is consistently the cheapest day of the week to buy petrol.”

Mr Sims said people who live outside the five largest cities can use fuel price websites and apps to find the cheapest petrol stations in their towns.

He said fluctuations in crude oil prices were the main reason for the dramatic swings in petrol prices in recent months, with a peak in October of 159.9 cents per litre.

But by the end of November the price had declined by more than 30 cents to 128.5 cents per litre.

Shop around for good deals: ACCC

Mr Sims largely blamed OPEC for the surge in crude oil prices, after it cut production, along with other oil-producing nations like Russia.

OPEC is a group of oil exporting nations that can agree to restrict oil supply to maintain prices.

The weakening Australian dollar also increased the wholesale price for petrol, compounding drivers’ pain.

“The main reason why petrol prices have come down by 30 cents per litre in last couple of months is the OPEC cartel is not hanging together as well, which is great news for Australian motorists,” Mr Sims said.

“The OPEC cartel is the enemy of Australian motorists.

“The worse they do, the less cohesive they are, the better off Australian motorists are.

“So that’s the big change and around that you’ve got these petrol price cycles, which are irritating.

“The only good point to make is that at the low point of these cycles you can often buy petrol below cost. So you do need to time when you buy petrol.”

“Shop around because there are still big differences. In most of the cities you’ve got people still charging around $1.40 and others charging as low as $1.15.

“You shouldn’t really be paying more than $1.25, but in all cities you’ll find petrol stations charging less than that so it’s well worth you shopping round.”

Mr Sims predicted prices would rise again after Christmas but “they wont get back to those past very high levels”.

“We want international oil prices to stay low, or really to stay at historical levels,” he said.

“What we don’t want is the OPEC cartel trying to push those prices above historical levels because that costs the Australian motorists and the economy way too much.”







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