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Unleaded prices in Great Southern once again nearing $2/L despite fuel excise cut

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenGreat Southern Herald
The prices at Caltex Woolworths Katanning on Monday.
Camera IconThe prices at Caltex Woolworths Katanning on Monday. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Great Southern Herald

Great Southern motorists are once again feeling pain at the pump, as bowser savings from the temporary fuel excise cut are eaten away by rising international oil prices.

Unleaded fuel prices have started to creep up in the past few weeks on the back of a short period of declining prices after the March Federal budget.

The average price of unleaded fuel on Monday was 193.7c/L in Katanning and 205.9c/L in Kojonup, with prices going up in both locations by 2.5c/L between June 1 and 6.

Average diesel prices were more stable over the same time period, remaining at 204.7c/L in Katanning and increasing by 1.4c/L to 210.6c/L in Kojonup.

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FuelWatch coordinator Kyle Huynh said Australia’s fuel prices were driven by international markets, with the benchmark price in Singapore playing a major role in local prices.

“Over the last (eight) weeks this benchmark has trended upwards and recently reached record highs over AU$223 per barrel,” Mr Huynh said.

“This was due to a combination of supply issues driven by ongoing tight refined product inventories and crude oil production not meeting demand, and growing demand as more South East Asian countries remove COVID-19 related restrictions.”

More recently, China’s easing of their harsh lockdowns and increased demand from United States, as they enter their summer driving season, have driven prices up.

Mr Huynh said more pressure was coming from the European Union’s decision to limit imports of Russian oil last week, but motorists would not feel the impact immediately.

“As it generally takes metropolitan petrol prices between one to two weeks — and up to a further four weeks for regional WA petrol prices — to follow movements in the Singapore benchmark price, there is an expectation that WA petrol prices will continue to trend upwards in the short-term,” he said.

WTI Crude, which is the benchmark oil price for North America, rose in price from US$70.91/barrel on June 7 last year to US$119.27 on Monday night, an increase of almost 70 per cent.

Despite pain at the bowser, motorists are being reminded it could have been worse if the fuel excise had not been temporarily halved.

“FuelWatch analysis shows that the benefits of the excise reduction, amounting to 24.3c/L, has been and continues to be passed onto Great Southern ULP retail prices,” Mr Huynh said.

Modelling released last week by the University of Canberra shows the average Great Southern household is predicted to save more than $250 over the six-month lifespan of the fuel excise cut.

When asked whether motorists could expect to see a peak in petroleum prices, Mr Huynh said the international benchmark prices were “extremely volatile”.

“It is very difficult if not impossible to predict future prices beyond the near term,” he said.

On Monday, Caltex Woolworths and Shell Roadhouse shared the lowest price for unleaded in Katanning at 189.9c/L.

Diesel was cheapest at Shell Roadhouse at 201.9c/L.

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