Drivers have been advised to fill up at the end of the Easter long weekend, with petrol prices likely to increase to above $2 a litre following a surprise cut to global oil production.

The national average petrol price is expected to increase from $1.85 this week to as much as $1.91 in a fortnight. It could then surge beyond $2 because of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC+) decision to cut oil production by over 1 million barrels a day from early May.

Petrol prices are expected to rise in the next fortnight following OPEC+’s surprise decision to cut oil production. Dan Peled

The decision sparked a surge in crude oil prices, pushing Brent crude oil up to about $US85 ($126) a barrel.

“It’s time to buy petrol as it’s cheaper now,” RACQ fuel expert Ian Jeffreys said. “Eventually, prices will go up.”

Commsec chief economist Craig James said the national average of retail petrol prices was expected to increase by 6¢ a litre.

“Crude has gone up $US9 a barrel – [equating to] around 9¢ a litre,” he said. “[The retail petrol] price is only up 3¢, so the average unleaded price may lift another 6¢ a litre.”

Mr James said this meant unleaded petrol prices could rise to nearly $2.20¢ a litre in capital cities at the peak of the fuel cycle, which is expected to be in late May to early June.

The national average retail petrol price was $1.85 a litre on Tuesday, the Australian Institute of Petroleum’s most up-to-date figure.

Although households will not be pleased to hear about the uptick in petrol prices, Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association chief executive Mark McKenzie said the latest prices would still be 20¢ to 30¢ a litre cheaper compared to last year.

For the duration of last year’s fuel excise cut, the national average pump price sat within the $2.12-a-litre to $2.15-a-litre range. Last year’s high pump prices were driven by rising global fuel prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He warned, however, that higher petrol prices could become entrenched as investment in new oil production and refining capacity was falling away faster than demand for petrol and diesel products.

He said the Albanese government needed to invest more into its transition to net zero and electric vehicles plan, or it risked a gap that would result in petrol price spikes.

“At the moment, EV investment is hit-and-miss and that’s a real risk to motorists,” Mr McKenzie said.

“If we end up retiring refineries faster than when EVs come online, that is going to really accelerate the cost of fuel.”

Mr McKenzie said the combination of oil price surges, refining premiums and uncertainty surrounding EV investment meant volatility in the petrol market had risen to levels “not seen for four decades”.

Extracted in full from: OPEC oil production cut: Petrol prices could hit $2.20 a litre (