Petrol prices reach an historical high: ACCC

Weak dollar prevents Australians from saving money at the pump

A weak Australian dollar has resulted in motorists paying an historically high price for petrol, a report conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found.

Australians paid on average 150.6 cents per litre for petrol; the third highest average price on record, said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

The findings were collated in the ACCC’s Monitoring of the Australian petroleum industry 2014 report, which examined the prices, costs and profits of unleaded petrol between July 2013 and June 2014.

The average price of petrol rose by 9.3 cents per litre, the report found, compared to the same period a year earlier.

The international price of petrol actually dropped “by around 20 cents per litre since July 2014”; however, chairman Sims said the weak performance of the dollar prevented petrol savings from being passed onto Australians.

“In 2013-2014 the Australian dollar failed to protect motorists from high international petrol prices. A lower AUD-USD exchange rate in 2013-2014 drove the price higher for motorists at the bowser.

“If the annual average exchange rate in 2013-2014 had been at the same level as in 2012–2013, retail petrol prices would have been around 10 cents per litre lower.”

Australian taxes on petrol — which stand at 34 per cent — were found to be among the lowest in the developed world. Petrol’s tax rate has been steadily diminishing over the last 15 years, surmised the report.

Net profits for the total downstream petroleum industry during 2013-2014 were up 46 per cent compared to the year prior at $1.16 billion. The retail sector turned net profits of $495 million across all products and services, which was a decrease of 10 per cent compared to the year prior.

The ACCC’s <i>Monitoring of the Australian petroleum industry 2014</i> report covered Australia’s five largest cities, which include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

The ACCC has since re-lauched the petrol price cycle page on its website, which provides insights into daily average petrol prices over the last 45 days and customer buying tips.

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