In the latest ACCC Quarterly Fuel Price Monitoring Report the ACCC attributes the higher petrol prices to international factors as well as drawing attention to the fact that regional consumers actually came out ahead compared to city customers.  As petrol prices have since broadly reduced the finding that the 12.7cpl increase in prices was driven by more than 14.7cpl increases in international product cost and government taxes has also highlighted that which retail outlets faced unprecedented aggression over petrol prices their profits actually declined.

Quarterly average retail diesel prices in the five largest cities were 195.6 cents per litre (cpl), an increase of 12.7cpl from the June quarter 2023. This is attributed to a 12.8cpl increase in the cost of refined product on the international market and a 1.9cpl increase in the government taxes and excises.  The numbers also show the portion of petrol prices that includes all retail and wholesale costs and profits actually reduced by 2cpl.

The Report also includes great news for regional customers, with those in the regions enjoying an average petrol price that was 0.2cpl lower than their city counterparts.

Quarterly average retail petrol prices in Australia’s five largest cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, were 195.6 cents per litre (cpl), an increase of 12.7 cpl from the June quarter 2023 (182.9 cpl).

“Our report shows the significant impact that international price movements and changes in the Australian dollar against the US dollar have on Australian retail petrol prices,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

The increase in average retail petrol prices in the 5 largest cities (12.7 cpl) was overwhelmingly due to higher international refined petrol prices, Singapore Mogas 95 Unleaded (Mogas 95), and a lower Australian/US dollar exchange rate. Quarterly average Mogas 95 prices, in Australian cents per litre, increased by 12.8 cpl.

These factors pushed quarterly average petrol prices in the 5 largest cities to the highest level on record in nominal terms (195.6 cpl). In real (inflation-adjusted) terms, average prices in the 5 largest cities were not as high as they were in 2022, or as they were in during the Global Financial Crisis (when they were 221.8 cpl in real terms in the September quarter 2008).

In the September quarter 2023, average retail petrol prices in the three smaller capital cities increased by less than the larger capitals. Quarterly average prices in Hobart rose by 11.8 cpl (to 198.5 cpl), and in Canberra by 10.2 cpl (to 197.4 cpl). Average prices in Darwin were below the average price in the five largest capitals, at 192.6 cpl (up 10.2 cpl from the previous quarter).

“Petrol prices varied across the 190 regional locations the ACCC monitors, however quarterly average petrol prices in regional locations in aggregate (195.4 cpl) were marginally below average prices in the five largest capitals,” Mr Keogh said.

Retail diesel prices increased due to higher international benchmark prices

Average retail diesel prices in the five largest cities were 201.7 cpl in the September quarter 2023, an increase of 15.1 cpl from the June quarter 2023 (186.6 cpl). This represented the first quarterly increase since the December quarter 2022.

Different international benchmark prices drive retail diesel and petrol prices, and these benchmarks can be influenced by various factors. Average international diesel benchmark prices (Gasoil 10 ppm prices) were 111.0 Australian cpl in the September quarter 2023, an increase of 23.4 cpl from the previous quarter.

“In addition to the broader influences on crude oil prices, the increase in diesel benchmark prices in the September quarter 2023 was influenced by a global shortage of diesel stocks, driven by crude production cuts announced by the OPEC cartel and shortages of refining capacity around the world,” Mr Keogh said.

International crude oil and refined fuel prices fluctuated after the Middle East conflict began

The September quarter report includes data from October and November following the recent conflict in the Middle East.

Weekly average international crude oil and refined fuel prices have fluctuated, following an initial lift in daily prices on 9 October.

“We will continue to monitor retail fuel prices closely as international crude oil and fuel benchmark prices react to the conflict,” Mr Keogh said.

“We encourage Australian consumers to use one of the many fuel price apps and price comparison websites that provide real-time fuel price information to see where they can find lower prices in their area.”

Weekly average Brent crude oil, Mogas 95 and Gasoil 10 ppm prices in nominal terms: January 2023 to mid-November 2023 – USD per barrel

Weekly average Brent crude oil, Mogas 95 and Gasoil 10 ppm prices in nominal terms: January 2023 to mid-November 2023 – USD per barrel

Source:   ACCC calculations based on data from Argus Media.
Note:      The shaded area in the chart represents the September quarter 2023.
The blue, red and purple dotted lines represent prices from October to mid-November 2023 for Brent crude oil, Mogas 95 and Gasoil 10 ppm respectively.
The vertical orange dotted line indicates average price levels in the week to 6 October 2023.

Retail petrol price components

The following chart shows changes in the components of average retail petrol prices in the 5 largest cities between the June quarter 2023 and the September quarter 2023.

The components include the international price of refined petrol (Mogas 95), the Australian/US dollar exchange rate (because international refined petrol is bought and sold in US dollars in global markets), taxes, other wholesale costs and margins (including international shipping costs and other import costs, and wholesale costs and margins) and retail costs and margins (represented by gross indicative retail differences).

Changes in the components of average retail petrol prices in the 5 largest cities: June quarter 2023 to September quarter 2023 – Australian cents per litre (cpl)

Changes in the components of average retail petrol prices in the 5 largest cities: June quarter 2023 to September quarter 2023 – Australian cents per litre (cpl)

Source:   ACCC calculations based on data from FUELtrac, Informed Sources, Argus Media, Ampol, bp, Mobil, Viva Energy, FuelWatch, the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Taxation Office.
Notes:   cpl change from the previous quarter.

The taxes component includes fuel excise and wholesale goods and services tax. The small amount of retail goods and services tax is included in gross indicative retail differences rather than in taxes, for consistency with gross indicative retail difference figures in this report. As a result, the taxes component in this chart is not the same as the taxes component in the bowser shown in the ‘September quarter 2023 – Petrol snapshot’.

Consumer attitudes to petrol

The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA) 2022 National Monitor of Fuel Consumer Attitudes report shows that price is the key driver of choice for motorists when they fill up.

ACAPMA’s latest report into consumer attitudes also found that fuel price apps were the most popular method for consumers to search for better prices. 34 per cent of survey respondents reported using fuel price apps to search for prices in 2022, up from 19 per cent in 2019.

“With prices currently at higher levels, we strongly encourage consumers to make use of the free fuel price comparison apps and websites to find the cheapest petrol in their area,” Ms Brakey said.

“Consumer attitudes, and aggression, swing with the fuel prices.  ACAPMA has updated the customer facing Fuel Pricing Factsheet to reflect these changes in pricing components.  This will be provided to all members and folded into the free ACAPMA Managing Aggression Training” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

More Information

For a copy of the ACCC June Quarter 2023 Petrol Price Monitoring Report see; https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/23-72RPT_Petrol%20Quarterly%20-%20September%2023_D03%20%284%29.pdf

For more on the free ACAPMA Managing Aggression Training see; https://acapmag.com.au/2023/08/free-customer-aggression-training-for-all-acapma-members/

 

Fuel Price Facts Posters

 

Members are reminded they can access the Fuel Price Facts posters (both General and City v Country) via the Member Portal at acapma.com.au or can request a copy from employment@acapma.com.au

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)
ACAPMA

 

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