Amy Mitchell-Whittington, 24 February 2016

In July 2005, the last time south-east Queensland motorists paid less than $1 per litre at the pump, the iPhone was still two years away, Brad and Jen had just called it quits, and all the members of One Direction were still in primary school.

As was Justin Bieber.

South-east Queensland petrol prices have once again dived in price, with the cheapest fuel at the Gold Coast at a 98¢ per litre average compared to Brisbane at 1.01 and the Sunshine Coast at $1.07.

“The Gold Coast has been acting incredibly competitively of late, it used to be the Sunshine Coast was very competitive and the cheapest in the south-east,” RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said.

Ms Smith said now was the time to fill up, while south-east Queensland is at the bottom of the price cycle, as there was no guarantee the prices would remain low.

“While we hope these prices will stay low all week, we just don’t know with the price cycle, they could go up at any time,” she said.

“It is not unusual when we go into the expensive phase of the cycle for prices to jump by 20 per cent.

“We have even seen 30¢ per litre jumps which is why it is really important if motorists want to save money to buy now because there is a really big difference between what we pay at the bottom of the cycle and what we pay at the top.”

Gone are the days of weekly cycles, Ms Smith said.

“People might remember cheap Tuesday when we had a weekly cycle and it was far more predictable and easier to know when to fill up and get a bargain but now it is more like a monthly cycle that we contend with and it is always changing,” she said.

While there have been big drops in the global oil price of late, the benefits have been slow to show at the pump.

“Refiner margins have been far too high in the past few months, they have been double what they usually are and they are still higher than what we would like to see them but unfortunately when it comes to those refiner margins, there is not too much we can do about it, it is a global issue,” Ms Smith said.

“Retail margins have also been really high but they are now lower, the terminal gate price is below a dollar a litre and we are seeing some service stations drop down to that mark as well.”

Across the state, Gold Coast had the cheapest average, while Blackall had an average of $1.52 per litre.

Adelaide was the only major city with an average cheaper than the Gold Coast, however was not an indication that other states were also sitting at the bottom of the price cycle.

“All of the major cities have price cycles but they are not in sync, so just because we are at the bottom of the price cycle doesn’t mean another city is at the bottom of the price cycle,” Ms Smith said.

Extracted in full from the Brisbane Times.