Brisbane motorists filling up their tanks today will be hard-pressed to find fuel under $1.70 per litre, but experts say holding off just a few days could save your back pocket.

The RACQ’s Clare Hunter said it was hard to find a good deal even for those who shopped around.

“Eighty-five per cent of the market is higher than $1.70 so that is expensive and that means we shouldn’t be filling the tank,” Ms Hunter said.

She said the price hikes were due to a “triple whammy” with a combination of factors at play.

“We were, before we went into lockdown, starting to go into the hike phase of the price cycle anyway,” Ms Hunter said.

“But what we’re seeing is a combination of a really high terminal gate price, high price of oil … and of course that high point in the price cycle, which is not good news for motorists who need fuel … it’s incredibly unfair.”

Petrol prices advertised at a service station in Brisbane for more than $1.70 per litre.The RACQ encouraged drivers to use apps and websites to shop around to avoid getting stung at the bowser.(Supplied)

But Ms Hunter said the high prices were no surprise with global factors pushing up the price Brisbane motorists were paying at the pump and many businesses taking full advantage of that.

“The high indicative retail margins — the extra money servos slap on what they’re buying fuel for to sell it, to make a margin — those are very high, and prices we shouldn’t be seeing,” Ms Hunter said.

“Anything around that $1.40 to $1.50 mark is probably fair and there are a few servos that are serving that … so that is available, but you’ve got to make the choice about whether it’s worth you driving [there] if you’re not around that area.”

Signage outside a service station advertising fuel for around $1.40 per litre.
The fuel prices at Metro Fuel Greenbank were considerably cheaper than competitors, with most servos around Brisbane selling E10 for an average $1.70 a litre.(Supplied: Raf Memon)

Raf Memon is the owner of Metro Fuel at Greenbank and its sister servo at Nerang and with the Brisbane servo selling E10 at 137.9 cents per litre, Mr Memon said competitive prices had never been bad for business.

“If we keep low prices [on fuel], we get more shop business,” Mr Memon said.

Instead of hiking up prices by 30 or 40 cents, Mr Memon said any increase was done gradually.

“We try to look after customers. If they are happy, we’re happy,” he said.

“If crude oil goes higher, then we would need to go higher but the last two years we’ve had a max price of $1.50 for unleaded and E10.”

“We sacrifice our margin to give customers a better price [and] this way we get more business that way.”

Positive news after prices peak

Ms Hunter said prices should start coming down soon.

“Prices peaked yesterday and we’re already seeing them starting to come down,” Ms Hunter said.

“We have hit the worst of it, so prices will get cheaper over the next few days.

“So, if anyone can hold off filling their tank, then it’s worth doing that but people have got the school run to do, people have got things to do, so we understand that drivers will need fuel at some point.”

Mr Hunter said taking advantage of real-time fuel price monitoring was a way to ensure motorists got more bang for their buck.

“With the data that we’ve now got available, we’re able to see that in advance by jumping on those apps and websites and checking the prices in our area before we get stung at a servo that’s too expensive when there was a cheaper one down the road,” she said.

“With that knowledge you can make better market choices.”

Extracted in full from: Brisbane motorists face price gouging at the petrol bowser, says RACQ – ABC News