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This Australian city figured out how to make petrol cheaper

(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

While petrol prices are generally lower in the large cities, motorists in the smaller hub of Canberra have been fortunate enough to enjoy cheaper fuel this year.

In fact, the latest report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) this week showed monthly average retail prices in Canberra were lower than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide over April and May.

"This was the first time monthly average prices in Canberra were below the average price in the five largest cities since April 2012," said ACCC chair Rod Sims.

In the five largest cities, drivers are now paying 7 cents more per litre than they did a year ago.

Petrol prices are now at its highest level in four years, after taking inflation into account – with Sims citing the weak Australian dollar as the reason.

"The AUD-USD exchange rate is a significant determinant of Australia’s retail petrol prices because international refined petrol is bought and sold in US dollars in global markets," he said.

Why did petrol get cheaper in Canberra?

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr last month suggested the territory's competition watchdog's enquiry into petrol prices may have influenced retailers into lowering fuel costs.

The Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission reported that on average Canberrans pay 11.8 cents per litre more than Sydney drivers.

But in May, that difference became just 0.6 cents.

The ACCC report speculated the lower prices could have also come because of the ACT government threatening to place greater regulation on the industry.

"The situation in Canberra is similar to that in Darwin in 2015, when the decrease in petrol prices coincided with increased local scrutiny of petrol prices by the NT Government (which also included the possibility of greater regulation of the petroleum industry), by the ACCC and the wider community."

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