staff reporters August 20, 2012
Petrol prices increased by triple the Australian average in Canberra last week, and an economist predicts "further substantial" rises nationally.
New figures from the Australian Institute of Petroleum found the national average price for unleaded increased by 2.6c, to a 10-week high of 142.9c a litre. They jumped by 8.3c in Canberra, to 147.3c a litre, and ranged from 139.5c to 149.7c last week.
This took Canberra from having the second-cheapest metropolitan average, to the second-most expensive, behind only Darwin.
CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said the national average was expected to keep rising.
"Petrol prices have been rising for almost two months and there are few signs that the bad news is easing. Rather the latest round of data seems to suggest that further substantial price gains are on the horizon. And the price gains are not necessarily to do with domestic economic conditions but more determined by international factors," he said.
The Singapore gasoline price was up by more than $28 a barrel – or 18c a litre – over the past two months, and the national average wholesale price was up 18.5c from recent lows. Retail prices were up by 9c on average.
"The bottom line is that the average Australian pump price for petrol should continue to edge higher, however motorists have no reason to panic. Across most capital cities the discounting petrol cycle seems to be heading towards cyclical lows over the next couple of days before prices again ratchet higher," he said.
"CommSec expects the national Australia average retail petrol price (pump price) to rise by 3c a litre in the next 7-10 days but increases will vary from city to city."