Perth motorists have one more day to refuel before the cost of petrol rockets in the wake of the end of the excise cut — although a return to prices above $2 per litre appears unlikely, at least in the short term.

Unleaded petrol will average 167.6 cents per litre across the city on Tuesday, the cheapest day of the metropolitan area’s fortnightly pricing cycle.

That cycle resets on Wednesday for the first time since the six-month cut to fuel excise expired last week, which has already added around 24c per litre to the wholesale cost of petrol and diesel.

Perth’s motorists have been protected from the brunt of that increase to this point but its full impact will be unleashed on Wednesday.

With wholesale prices around $1.67 on Monday, Motor Trade Association of WA chief executive Stephen Moir said he expected average prices would jump to between $1.85 and $1.90.

That would bring Perth in line with major east coast capitals Sydney (188.5cpl on Monday), Melbourne (186.8cpl) and Brisbane (188.7cpl) which do not operate on a fortnightly cycle.

Consumers these days are pretty well tuned in and they will vote with their feet.

“Perth has had the cheapest retail price of petrol in Australia for a week now,” Mr Moir said.

However, he pointed out some individual petrol stations had last week ramped their prices up to 50c above the wholesale price.

Coles Express and Caltex Woolworths — which have both reverted to a weekly price cycle in recent months — led the way, jacking up the average price across their stations to 187.6cpl and 174.9cpl respectively last Wednesday.

“I think a 50c profit margin is very hard to justify but you have to remember we are talking about a free and unregulated market,” Mr Moir said.

“I’m sure those stations that do try to do something similar on Wednesday will reap some kickback.

“Consumers these days are pretty well tuned in and they will vote with their feet.”

In an economic update released Monday, Commsec wrote retail margins on petrol were generally between 15 and 20 cents per litre which meant with wholesale costs around $1.70, the new “fair” bowser price was about $1.90.

“Fortunately for motorists, world oil prices have been falling over the past month, dragging down wholesale and retail petrol prices,” Commsec said.

“From August 29 to September 27 the terminal gate (wholesale) price fell by almost 13 cents a litre.

“Rather than paying $1.90 to $2 a litre, motorists, on average, would have been paying $2 to $2.20 a litre.”

Working against motorists is the weakening Australian dollar, which was buying around 64c in US dollars on Monday — down from an average of around 73c in April prior to a series of global interest rate hikes.

Because oil is traded in US dollars, a stronger greenback translates to higher petrol prices at the bowser.

Extracted in full from: WA motorists facing fuel price jump as fuel excise cut ends on Tuesday | PerthNow

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