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Cheap petrol: Two Australian cities are celebrating

Petrol prices around Australia actually dipped in the latest period. (Image: Getty)

Australian motorists actually paid less for petrol in the latest quarter compared to the previous period, due to both international and domestic factors.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported that average fuel prices in the five "large" cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide – fell in the quarter ending September.

This is despite the drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that had many experts predicting a rise in oil prices

"The US is now the world's largest crude oil producer, and can increase its shale oil supply relatively quickly when needed," said ACCC chair Rod Sims.

"This means that incidents like the recent Saudi attack may not have as big an impact on international crude oil prices as they would have in the past."

The five cities did go as high as 152.8 cents per litre in the aftermath of the Saudi Arabia attacks. But the average for the quarter was 142.1 cents, which was a 3.2 cent drop from the previous period.

Brisbane and Darwin drivers celebrate

The ACCC found earlier this year Brisbane had the highest petrol prices nationally due to a lack of competition among service stations.

But drivers in the Queensland capital now have reason to celebrate as the latest report saw prices decrease there. Adelaide has now overtaken it to become the most expensive city.

"The relative decrease in Brisbane prices over the past year may have been influenced by a recent large increase in the number of retail sites in Brisbane." read the report.

"The introduction of the fuel price transparency trial in Queensland in December 2018 may have also had some influence."

Darwin, meanwhile, enjoyed petrol 3 cents per litre cheaper than the average of the five big cities. This has been a trend since February this year.

"The drop in Darwin’s prices may have been influenced by a change in the price setter at Coles Express retail sites from Coles Express to Viva Energy and FuelXpress opening a new retail site in Palmerston," said Sims.

Here are the average petrol prices for the five large cities in the September quarter:

  1. Adelaide: 145.5 cents per litre

  2. Brisbane: 143.3

  3. Melbourne: 143.2

  4. Perth: 140.6

  5. Sydney: 138.1

How to save money on petrol

There are several apps that can help motorists save on fuel costs. The NSW government, for example, has FuelWatch, which lists the prices of stations nearby so motorists can drive out to the best deal.

Both the 7-Eleven Australia and the new Refueler apps allow drivers to lock in a fuel price when it's cheap, to allow motorists to fill their cars later when it's expensive.

The difference between the cheap and expensive extremes of the petrol price cycle can be as much as 40 cents a litre – meaning a $32 saving for a large family sedan.

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