Petrol prices across Perth are approaching their highest level in four years and could be stuck there for months despite service station competition growing.

Australian Institute of Petroleum figures show that the price of unleaded petrol in Perth averaged 151.2¢ a litre last week.

It surpassed the highest price recorded this year — in June when unleaded in the city averaged 150.2¢ a litre.

Another increase in coming days could push prices towards an average $1.52, which would be the highest since early 2014.

It is not just Perth motorists forking out more, with average prices in all major capital cities above the $1.50 a litre mark.

CommSec economist Ryan Felsman said motorists should be prepared for petrol pain through the school holidays and beyond.

“Unleaded petrol prices are likely to stay at $1.50 to $1.60 a litre for the foreseeable future due to a combination of elevated wholesale unleaded petrol and global oil prices,” he said.

The soaring petrol prices comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says increased competition in the service station sector should be putting downward pressure on prices. The commission found that in 2002-03, major brands such as BP and Caltex accounted for 83 per cent of all retail sales.

Their share had fallen to 38 per cent, in part because of a sharp increase in the number of independent retailers.

More recently, the market share of Coles Express and Woolworths had fallen, which the ACCC claimed had been partly driven by the demise of shopper docket discounts.

Commission chairman Rod Sims said that with extra competition, motorists would be better off.

“The changing dynamic of Australia’s retail petrol market can be beneficial to consumers as it gives them more choice about where they get their fuel,” he said.

“For many consumers, price is the most important factor when determining where to buy petrol. More players in the market means more options of where to buy petrol.”

Extracted from The West