Petrol prices have eased back fractionally from their recent near-three year highs, a modest reprieve after being driven higher by rising international oil prices.
Demand for oil is rising as global economies reopen from lockdowns, but this has been hit by a number of supply shortages, caused by hurricanes in the northern hemisphere in some instances.
“Higher oil prices could crimp spending just as consumers try to get back on their feet,” Commonwealth Securities chief economist Craig James warned.
The Singapore gasoline price, which is directly linked to future petrol prices in Australia, rose by a further 3.3 per cent in the past week to a three-year high.
Still, the national Australian pump price average eased two cents per litre in the past week to 155.4 cents, according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum.
However, price changes were far from uniform.
Motorists in locked-down NSW and Victoria who are still able to drive have received some modest relief.
The average bowser price in NSW eased 2.8 cents per litre to 152.4 cents, while in Victoria it was down 5.5 cent per litre at 156.1 cents.
Yet in South Australia it jumped 12.6 cents per litre to 151.5 cents.
Rising petrol prices have been blamed on an increase in consumer inflation expectations, which have also risen to a three-year high of 4.7 per cent, according to the weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer survey.
Inflation expectations provide an indicator as to where price pressures may be heading, and can be used in setting prices and wages.
Filling the car up is one of the biggest outlays for a households’ weekly budget and comes at the detriment of general retail spending when petrol prices are on the rise.
Retailers are already struggling to keep afloat as a result of coronavirus lockdowns.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release retail trade figures for August on Tuesday, which economists expect will show a further two per cent fall and a third consecutive monthly decline.