Fuel prices have surged almost 50c at some service stations, with motorists who fail to shop around facing being slugged up to $40 a tank more due to “extreme” discrepancies across South East Queensland.

As of Tuesday afternoon the cheapest places for Unleaded 91 in Brisbane were in Sandgate, Kuraby, Taigum and Kingston, where it was less than $1.64 a litre.

Service stations in Acacia Ridge, Hillcrest, Park Ridge and Kedron were among the highest, at about $2.13 a litre.

The cost of mistiming a fuel purchase can be about $25 a tank on a sedan and $40 on a larger SUV.

Price comparison websites show that unleaded fuel was selling between $1.50 and $1.98 in Sydney, between $1.62 and $2 in Melbourne and between $1.59 and $2.10 in Adelaide.

RACQ principal economic and affordability specialist Ian Jeffreys said that while some places had already begun to increase their prices, most of the other stations would follow in the next week to 10 days.

Compare the Market’s Chris Ford said that while the average was $1.75/litre for unleaded, the prices were growing.

“Unfortunately, this is the new high-price mark, so average prices will lift across the city now over the next few weeks,” Mr Ford said.

“Fill up now is the message to South East Queenslanders. Now is the time to shop around because these price discrepancies are significant.

“We’re seeing price differences of nearly $0.50/litre, even on the same stretch of road. For a car with a 50-litre tank – that could be a difference of $25 every fill”.

Mr Jeffreys said the 50c price discrepancy was an “extreme” example.

“For at least the first half of January, we see traffic volumes drop; a lot of people are on holiday. We see driving drop off in January, therefore fuel sales also drop off in January.

“For a fuel company to hike their prices, they are risking losing what little volume is out there so that tends to drag out the price hikes,” he said

“So this price hike is likely to (take) longer than it would mid-year when … everyone’s back at work, the kids are back in school and traffic levels go back up to normal level.

“Because the sales volumes are low, it does tend to drag out the price hikes. A few companies are less likely to hike that price when they’re not getting much volume anyway.”

Mr Jeffreys advised motorists to fill up as soon as possible.

“Our advice for motorists at the moment is while we are seeing the first movers jump, there are still a lot of reasonably priced petrol in the market at the moment and we would be urging everybody to fill up now,” he said.

“Certainly you wouldn’t want to end this week with an empty tank. So fill up now and fill up as soon as possible.”

Mr Ford said while the diesel price didn’t fluctuate the same as unleaded, it is influenced by demand. “While it has generally been a higher pump price than unleaded for a while, prices for diesel in Australia have steadily been declining.”

Extracted in full from:  https://www.couriermail.com.au/lifestyle/petrol-prices-qld-motorists-paying-40-more-a-tank-amid-50cl-surge/news-story/6416b703d397876873b79fdc2c742ca4