TASMANIAN motorists are paying more than 25 cents a litre extra for fuel than they were little more than six months ago, with fears over the effect on cost of living pressures.

According to the state government’s FuelCheck TAS app, the average cost of regular unleaded fuel statewide was $1.10 a litre in August last year, but that has now risen to $1.37.

But the price spike is not unique to Tasmania, with the most recent Australian Institute of Petroleum report revealing the average retail price nationally was continuing to rise.

Across the country, motorists can expect to pay an average of $1.41 a litre, while the wholesale price is $1.21.

Restrictions on travel and economic activity due to the coronavirus resulted in fewer motorists buying fuel and prices plummeted to their lowest levels in decades.

But RACT chief customer experience officer Stacey Pennicott said the decreased supply of fuel internationally has increased the cost to motorists at the bowser since February.

“There are still locations where motorists can find lower prices for fuel,” she said.

“The best thing people can do is use the RACT’s free Fuel Saver app to find the cheapest fuel price near them.

“When consumers support retailers with the lowest prices it helps drive competition.”

On Sunday, the best price a motorist could find in the Hobart area was $1.35, while United service stations in Launceston were retailing unleaded fuel for $1.29.

Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Adrienne Picone said increased fuel costs would contribute to pressures on household budgets, especially with the scaling back of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs.

“We are facing a perfect storm … having those benefits wound back and at the same time looking at the face of winter where people have higher costs with electricity and utilities,” she said.

“All combined, with higher costs of petrol and other items like fruit and vegetables, it comes together to really push people below the poverty line and make it hard to get by.”

The state government introduced mandatory real-time fuel price reporting in September so retailers were required to update prices as they changed, providing transparency for consumers.

It came with the FuelCheck TAS app and the RACT released its own free price comparison app, called Fuel Saver, in January.

The RACT said mandatory real-time fuel price reporting, along with the two apps, was helping to stamp out overpriced fuel.

Extracted in full from: https://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/cost-of-living-fears-as-petrol-prices-surge-25-per-cent-in-tasmania-in-six-months/news-story/4198b4178642b669fccd5b566c718671