QUEENSLANDERS should brace for plenty of hip pocket pain at the petrol pump with prices set to soar to $1.65 a litre or more.

The RACQ and price monitoring service fuelTRAC warn that the next price cycle in southeast Queensland could see the cost of filling up hit its highest level for more than six months.

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It comes as the latest CPI figures, released yesterday, show zero inflation during the past quarter – ironically due in part to lower fuel prices earlier this year – prompting speculation of an interest-rate cut before the federal election.

Despite inflation stalling in the past three months, and slowing to 1.3 per cent for the year, consumers were hit by a 7.7 per cent jump in fruit and vegetables due to the impacts of drought and other natural disasters.

Fuel will be the next pressure point of family budgets.

RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said: “We are now entering the discounting phase of the cycle so prices should fall over the next week or so, but then it is inevitable that they will hike. Our advice is to fill up when it’s low because the next time it goes up, it could really hurt.”

The anticipated increases result from the decision by the US to take a hard line on countries breaking its oil embargo on Iran.

The global Brent crude oil price has risen more than 3 per cent to $106.22 a barrel this week following the Trump administration announcement it would renew waivers of sanctions on eight countries including China and India buying supplies from Iran.

Ms Ross said it usually took a week to two for the impact of international oil prices to be felt here.

Average prices around SEQ yesterday ranged from 149.1¢ on the Gold Coast to 154.8¢ on the Sunshine Coast.

Ms Ross said the price was expected to bottom over the next couple of weeks at around 140c per litre – compared to the 135¢ in April, 125¢ in March and 120¢ in February.

And the next peak in the price cycle was tipped to be just over $160¢ litre for unleaded, but some servos could hit 165¢ – approaching the high of 169¢ last October.

FuelTRAC general manager Geoff trotter said there were more factors at work than the Trump decision.

Oil companies had been lifting their refining margins, pushing up the price of wholesale petrol and diesel from Singapore over recent weeks.

And retailers had maintained high margins through the Easter holiday period. “There are still plenty of places in Brisbane charging 159¢ – they haven’t moved down at all over the past two weeks.

“That’s unrelated to the other international factors.

“I think in the next upward price cycle, they will get to 165.9c a litre.

“It’s all bad news for the motorist.”

Extracted from Courier Mail