Australians are still getting ripped off at the petrol pump despite enjoying some of the lowest fuel prices in close to a decade.

Analysis by the Australian Automobile Association — given exclusively to News Corp Australia — shows the average annual retailer profit margin has risen 35 per cent since February 2012, from 8.9 per cent to 12.3 per cent.

As the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission prepares to release its first quarterly report on petrol prices this week, News Corp Australia can reveal greedy retailers are getting more in their pockets for no reason as the oil price drops and fuel prices are the lowest they have been since 2008.

The average motorist — travelling the average annual distance (13,200km) using the average annual fuel consumption (11.1L/ 100km) — is paying upwards of $50 in extra margins as a result of the price gouge compared to three years ago.

The retail price creep comes despite moves by the government to shine a greater spotlight on petrol prices through more regular reporting from the ACCC.

Petrol prices

In the week ending February 12, 2012, the 12-month period average unleaded retail petrol margin was 8.9 cents per litre. Three years later, data for the week ending February 8 shows a 12-month average retail petrol margin of 12.3 cents per litre, an increase of 3.4 cents per litre or 35 per cent.

Motorists driving Australia’s best-selling car of 2014, the Toyota Corolla, are paying $1.87 a tank more than they would have if retail petrol margins had remained at 2012 levels.

People driving a Holden Commodore are paying an additional $2.41 per tank, while those driving a Ford Ranger are paying $2.72 more than they would have in 2012.

While motorists are paying significantly less for unleaded petrol in cities across Australia, these savings are due to lower wholesale costs rather than discounting by retailers.

Acting chief executive of the Australian Automobile Association James Goodwin said he was “deeply concerned” by the fact consumers had been getting ripped off at the petrol bowser.

“It’s very simple; prices have not been as low as they should have been,” Mr Goodwin told News Corp Australia.

“We’re deeply concerned the full impact of lower international oil prices has not been passed on to motorists in full.

“Motorists deserve a fair go at the bowser and need to know that they are not being ripped off — whatever the end price.”

The ACCC said in a statement yesterday they had observed increasing margins in recent years.

“The ACCC have observed some increase in margins in recent years, and this has featured in our recent monitoring reports,” a spokesman said.

Over the past three years petrol retail margins have reached as high as 18 cents, and have consistently been around the 15 cent mark.

However, those peaks are usually in train with the weekly price cycles and the annual average shows retailers have consistently been increasing price margins.

Diesel margins have also skyrocketed in recent years and have consistently been above the two-year average in the past six months.

The diesel margin has been as high as 24 cents per litre during this time with the current margin 11.1 cents.

Small Business Minister Bruce Bilson told News Corp Australia the government was doing everything it could to try and keep petrol prices fair, starting with the more regular ACCC reporting.

He said that the prices in capital cities were generally in line with international markets but that there was concern over regional areas.

“What we’ve seen in capital cities is the petrol prices following international prices,” Mr Bilson said.

“But in regional markets and markets where there is less competition I do have some concerns that motorists are paying too much.”

Extracted in full from