Damian Bathersby, 12 November 2015

JUST 24 hours after experts warned it was too good to last, the Sunshine Coast’s run of cheap petrol has come to a sudden and dramatic end.

Motorists who were buying unleaded fuel for as little as 113.9c/litre are now finding most outlets have put their prices up to 139.9c/litre.

Analysts had warned the cheap prices wouldn’t last but the 26c/litre overnight jump surprised even them.

The supermarket chains led the charge, with most Caltex Woolworths and Shell Coles service stations moving together.

Some of the smaller players and even a few of the majors are holding out, but are expected to join the rush tonight.

RACQ spokesman Renee Smith, who on Wednesday predicted a 20c/litre jump at any time, said 26c/litre was a big increase.

But there was still hope for Sunshine Coast drivers wanting to save money.

“In Brisbane, more than 70% of service stations in the past 24 hours have upped their prices to 139.9c/litre,” she said.

“While the Sunshine Coast is on the same price cycle, it tends to lag a bit behind.

“That’s good news for motorists because it means there might be a last chance for them to get cheap petrol.

“But they had better be quick because we would expect it is only a matter of time before the majority of Sunshine Coast service stations follow.”

She said it was “sadly not unusual” for such a big jump after an extended cycle of cheap fuel like the Sunshine Coast had enjoyed.

From a high of 142.2c/litre on September 26, the price has gradually fallen to this week’s low.

On Wednesday, the Daily revealed the low prices were defying the odds and there had been two unsuccessful attempts by big players to break the deadlock.

They failed because other operators failed to follow.

But not this time.

“Given what has happened in Brisbane, it would seem this price hike is successful and everyone will follow,” Ms Smith said.

“We don’t know exactly what will happen now because the price cycle is acting very bizarrely at the moment.

“But I wouldn’t expect prices to go any higher than 139.9c/litre.

“How long his part of the cycle will last, I can’t say.”

Independent operator Rainbow Fuel at Caloundra was one of the few to defy the trend but manager Ryan Hidassy  said he expected to follow suit tonight.

“We’re always the last to go up and we’ll probably go under them (Coles and Woolworths) by a couple of cents,” he said.

Extracted in full from the Sunshine Coast Daily.