The McGowan Government is being urged to use decades-old legislation, last invoked in the early 1990s, to “reduce the excessive retail margins” being charged by petrol stations.

With unleaded tipped to reach as high as $2.40 a litre later in March — and diesel setting another daily record averaging 220.2¢ a litre on Wednesday — the RAC has approached FuelWatch to investigate calling back into effect laws introduced by the Burke government in 1983.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Act allows a government-appointed commissioner to fix “the maximum price at which any declared petroleum products may be sold”.

It was drafted to address disparities in petrol prices between Perth and the bush but fell out of use in 1993. However, the laws were never repealed and in 2000 led to the establishment of FuelWatch — the nation’s first price monitoring and reporting service.

Now, RAC general manager external relations Will Golsby said the laws should be used to curb the peaks of a fortnightly price cycle that on some days had margins in excess of 30¢ a litre charged on petrol.