Fuel experts are warning motorists to be aware of price gouging amid ongoing rising costs, with reports prices are varying by as much as 40 cents per litre between stations.

Fuel experts are warning motorists to be aware of price gouging with supply impacting the current price hike by as much as 40 cents per litre between stations.

Fueltrac’s Geoff Trotter said big retailers have the ability to price gouge because of a “concentrated market”.

“These fake fuel cycles are a distortion in the retail market with the likes of Shell, Coles Express and BP setting the price,” he said.

“If there’s no disruption to the oil tankers and the fuel tankers that are coming into Australia then the key determinants of the petrol price is the price of international oil and the exchange rate.”

But Australia only has 68 days of liquid fuel (January 2022) under the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 90 day minimum stock requirement, according to new research from the Australian Institute.

Mr Trotter said the Australian market is subject to “price shocks” because 91 per cent of Australia’s fuel is linked to imports.

“When looking at supply security in Australia you have to look at both the storage of crude oil and the storage of the refined products,” Mr Trotter said.

“The underlying wholesale price of unleaded in Brisbane is $1.61/litre so without that fuel cycle people should be paying about $1.70/litre at the pump.”

Compare the Market general manager Chris Ford said there is “incredible volatility” in the oil market right now.

Mr Ford said there are currently almost 200 stations across Brisbane advertising at a rate of $1.91 per litre for Unleaded 91, compared to just three stations in the same area at that price a week ago.

“The fuel excise cut is making a difference, as prices would be even higher without it. Despite that cut, there’s still a 40-cent difference between the cheapest and most expensive fuel in the Greater Brisbane market right now,” he said.

RACQ spokesperson Lauren Cooney said it’s common to see “large disparities” between the cheapest and most expensive sites throughout the price hike phase of the fuel price cycle.

“Often we see the bigger players like BP and Coles Express hike prices first and then other fuel companies follow suit,” she said.

“Competition drives down prices, and when there is more competition in a small area, companies are forced to keep their prices lower.”

Extracted in full form: Qld fuel prices: Price gouging warning for cash-strapped motorists | Daily Telegraph