The combination of an oil price war and a massive reduction in transport usage due to social isolation measures has resulted in petrol prices dipping well into the 90-cent-per-litre region (and beyond) in capital cities.
And it looks like the discounts a far from over with pricing trends over March and the start of April suggesting further drops look highly likely over the coming weeks.
While the run-up to the Easter long weekend would ordinarily see fuel prices jump as motorists brim their tanks ahead of holiday road trips, the stay-at-home regimen forced by the COVID-19 pandemic means vacations have turned into staycations. With demand for fuel well down and no interruption to supply, prices have fallen across the board.
According to Fuel Price Australia, the current capital city averages for 91-octane unleaded are $1.07 per litre in Sydney, $1.14 in Melbourne, $1.05 in Brisbane, $1.09 in Perth, $1.08 in Adelaide, and $1.25 in Darwin and Canberra.
Regional areas are generally less effected by the discounting, with fuel prices in some remote areas still hovering around the $1.60-1.70 bracket – and some outliers even breaching $2.00 per litre – largely due to isolated retailers still selling stock of fuels purchased when the wholesale price was higher. As deliveries of new fuel arrive, regional areas should see prices fall as well, however there will remain some lag compared with metro areas.
The listed prices above are just averages and shopping around (from home) for the best bargains is advised. In Sydney today, the lowest observed price is a mere 79.6 cents per litre for 91RON unleaded, while the highest is a whopping 157.9c/L.
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In Melbourne the cheapest 91RON is in the low 90-cent realm while Perth is seeing lows of around 85 cents per litre. Crucially, however, it appears there’s further drops ahead as drivers continue to keep their cars parked and the Russians and Saudis continue to flood the global oil market with dirt-cheap crude.
Diesel continues to be more expensive and has yet to punch through the dollar-per-litre barrier, but the national average is currently $1.25/L for regular diesel and is also expected to dip further.
The takeaway is this: unless you absolutely need to fill up your car, there may be greater savings if you put off a trip to the petrol station for as long as possible.
It seems cruel that we’re not able to take advantage of such cheap fuel and take the family for a road trip or just go on a destinationless cruise, but the upshot is that most Aussie families will relish not having fuel expenses as such a dominating part of their monthly budget. Take advantage of that while it lasts.