Gemma Sutherland fills up at BP on Swan Street, Richmond. Picture: David Crosling
Gemma Sutherland fills up at BP on Swan Street, Richmond. Picture: David Crosling

Where your petrol money goes

AUSSIE motorists have "every reason to be upset" as petrol prices hit a four-year high of up to $1.60 a litre, the consumer watchdog says.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims told the Herald Sun Australian motorists were "financing the extravagance" of oil-rich nations like the United Arab Emirates that make up the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

"When people say there's something going on here that is causing us to pay a lot of money for petrol, they are right - it's called the OPEC cartel," he said.

"It's the number one factor in the height of petrol prices. This is a transfer from Australian motorists to the OPEC countries. I can well understand why Australian motorists resent this, and I think they should.

"I think Australian motorists have got every reason to be upset that the OPEC countries are making a lot of money from the high price of petrol. Australian motorists have got every reason to be upset. There is no other way to put it."

The ACCC's latest quarterly petrol report released on Tuesday showed while petrol prices were broadly stable in the March quarter, concerns about global oil supply had caused prices to jump dramatically, peaking in May.

That was influenced by factors including OPEC's decision in late 2016 to cut crude oil production, and compounded by tension in the Middle East following US-led air strikes on Syria, renewed US sanctions against Iran and the economic crisis in Venezuela.

According to comparison website Comparethemarket, the average unleaded petrol price between March and June was 140 cents per litre in Sydney, 141.1 in Melbourne, 144.4 in Brisbane, 140 in Adelaide, 140.9 in Perth and 148 in Canberra.

"Our quarterly petrol analysis revealed Aussies were paying, on average, 142.5 cents per litre over the last few months - 5.1 cents per litre higher than last quarter," Comparethemarket spokeswoman Abigail Koch said.

"Petrol prices in most capital cities, excluding Canberra, run on cycles of seven days to around 30 days. While prices may ease slightly in some capital cities over the weekend, we strongly urge motorists to check petrol prices before filling up.

"Around the country, most capital cities are some way from the expected bottom of their cycle. This, coupled with world oil prices being higher than in any other time over recent memory, means motorists should shop around for the best price before filling up this long weekend."

Consumers can now choose from a large number of fuel price apps and websites, including NRMA's MyNRMA and RACWA's RAC Go, NSW's FuelCheck and NT's MyFuelNT, Informed Sources' MotorMouth, the crowdsourced GasBuddy, as well as 7-Eleven, Coles, Woolworths and Comparethemarket.


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