Petrol costs have drained almost $20,000 from the pockets of the average Victorian motorist over a decade, according to analysis.

The price to fill our tanks is equivalent to buying a small new car.

The RACV calculated that in the past year alone, a driver travelling average distances shelled out $2039 at the bowser.

Over the past 10 years, the unleaded fuel bill amounted to $19,413, the state’s peak motoring body found.

Its analysis revealed motorists had been on a decade-long price rollercoaster.

RACV spokesman Brodie Bott said there was no sign of an upward trend stopping.

“Fuel prices will continue to hurt Victorian hip pockets,” Mr Bott said.

The cost over a decade was more than buying a new entry-level small car such as a Kia Rio S, or Toyota Yaris Ascent.

The most expensive average price for a single day in the period, of 167c a litre, was recorded on December 14 last year.

That compared with the lowest daily average of just 96c a litre on March 1, 2016.

The RACV tracked the average annual unleaded Victorian petrol price for each year from 2010-19.

It found 2014 was the most expensive, at 144.4c a litre.

The cheapest was 2016, at 116c a litre.

Petrol prices were affected by factors including global oil and refined petrol costs, the Australian-US dollar exchange rate, local fuel price cycles, and profit margins.

Annual costs for drivers were based on travelling 14,380km at a fuel consumption of 10 litres per 100km.

Mr Bott suggested motorists use fuel comparison websites and apps to check prices, and to always shop around.

Metropolitan prices have a volatile cycle that sees prices spike to a peak before falling steadily, then again sharply increasing.

“Motorists should top up when prices are on the high end of the price cycle and fill up on the low end,” Mr Bott said.

Prices do not fluctuate as wildly in rural and regional areas.

Previous Australian Competition and Consumer Commission research found Melbourne drivers could save $250 a year if they bought petrol at the cheapest point of price cycles and shopped around at other times.

Extracted from Herald Sun