The RAA is urging motorists to fill up if they spot petrol for under a $1 a litre, with some service stations raising prices by a third in the past 24 hours.

RAA spokesman Mark Borlace said motorists could save on average $30 filling their tank, if they made sure to avoid servos which had jumped prices to about $1.50 a litre.

“If you can find petrol for under a buck, fill up,” Mr Borlace said.

He said traditionally petrol prices were on a monthly cycle.

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, this had dropped back to fortnightly, with prices taking two days to spike before slowly decreasing over the next 12 days.

“What we’re seeing currently is for the past few days, you could buy petrol for just under $1 a litre,” Mr Borlace said.

“Now we’re seeing about one third of the market are selling it for $1.48/$1.49 a litre.”

Motorists are being urged to fill up, as prices rise.
Motorists are being urged to fill up, as prices rise.

Mr Borlace said the price hike was happening as the same time as the margin between the wholesale and retail cost of petrol was rising.

He said in the first quarter of this year, the average margin was under 14c a litre.

In the June quarter, this jumped to about 17.6c a litre, which represented a 20 per cent increase in the margin the oil companies were receiving.

“This is presumably to make up for profits lost during COVID,” Mr Borlace said.

“But traffic volumes are starting to get back to normal levels.”

He said the government had in July passed real-time fuel pricing legislation, which requires all fuel retailers to provide the State Government with the price they are charging for petrol, diesel and LPG, which can then be shared with the public online.

Retailers will have to disclose their fuel prices to a central database within 30 minutes of prices changing, or risk fines of up to $10,000.

However, Mr Borlace said so far, motorists had not seen any signs of the scheme working in the market.

“These price jumps are why consumers need better information and real-time pricing,” he said.

Mr Borlace suggested motorists be on the lookout for independent retailers, who were often slower to raise their prices and quicker to drop them.

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