Australian motorists have avoided the massive fuel hikes being predicted out of the current US-Iran conflict but there are still warnings that they might have to get used to high petrol prices.

There were dramatic jumps in the price of oil following the January 3 US drone strike killing of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani and Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes, but prices then returned to previous levels over the last week.

There were fears of an escalating conflict that would threaten oil supplies in the most important petroleum region in the world.

The Iranian missile attack on US forces in Iraq did not result in casualties and US President Donald Trump then stated he was open for dialogue and that move calmed markets, for now.

The world’ most expensive oil, Brent Crude, had jumped from $US66 a barrel to nearly $US69 after the fatal drone attack on Soleimani but was back to $US64.63 on Friday, Australian time.

The “cooling off” of tension had negated an increase that Australian motorists would otherwise have seen, The National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) spokesman Peter Khoury told AAP.

“There’s a lag between what happens with world oil prices and what happens here at the bowser, it takes about seven-10 days for those increases or decreases to be passed on.

“So the net result was neutral.”

While prices have risen over the last seven-10 days that is part of the normal discounting cycle, he said.

However, CommSec chief economist Craig James warned Australian motorists they might have to get used to higher fuel prices, with an end to the US-China trade war and improved global economic outlook set to drive higher oil demand and petrol prices.

The key factor holding up Australian petrol prices is OPEC production curbs, with fuel prices up 27 cents a litre on the year, costing the average motorist an extra $43 a month, and over the December quarter up 4.5 per cent.

People then have less cash to spend elsewhere in the economy.

“You are probably not going to see too much relief for Australian motorists in the short-term, the likelihood is prices are going to remain relatively high,” he told AAP.

“You would have to see some more negative developments about the global economy or a substantially higher Australian dollar (currently about 69 US cents) that could reduce some of the imported costs of petrol which doesn’t seem like being any time soon.”

The US-Iran conflict remains a serious threat to global oil supplies.

Last September’s co-ordinated cruise missile and drone attack on a Saudi Arabian oil refinery – largely blamed on Iran, although it denies it – cut the country’s oil production by about half, sending global prices soaring.

“In the Middle East, there is always a risk, that never goes away,'” Mr Khoury said.

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