Motorists are about to be hit with more pain at the petrol bowser, with crude oil hitting a seven-year high on Monday.

Commonwealth Securities senior economist Ryan Felsman said oil prices had risen for eight successive weeks on market expectations that crude demand would outpace supply as the global economy rebounds from COVID disruptions.

He said escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia were also driving up prices.

“Rising geo-political tensions in Eastern Europe could be the major catalyst needed to justify crude oil’s potential move above US$100 a barrel,” Mr Felsman said.

The Australian Institute of Petroleum said that the national average retail unleaded petrol price had risen by by 5.1¢ in the past week to a fresh record high of 176.9¢ a litre.

The institute said the petrol price hit record highs of 181.8¢ a litre in Perth, 182.3¢ in Melbourne, 185.2¢ in Hobart and 177.3¢ in Canberra.

On Monday, the highest price in Perth for unleaded petrol was 195.9¢ and the lowest was 160.7¢.

“Filling up the car with petrol is one of the single biggest weekly purchases for consumers, with inflation and cost of living pressures a focal point in recent consumer sentiment surveys,” Mr Felsman said.

“Assuming the purchase of 35 litres of petrol per week, Aussie households are currently spending $247.66 a month on petrol.”

The annual rate of inflation rose by 3.5 per cent over 2021 and above the Reserve Bank of Australia’s two to three per cent target, led by a 32 per cent increase increase in fuel prices.

Rising inflation, along with a falling unemployment rate, are key factors behind expectations of an interest rate rise by the central bank this year.

Many economists are predicting a move in the cash rate in August, by which time the RBA would have had time to consider two further quarterly inflation reports.