Needle in a camel’s eye – the price of petrol in Australia

On Friday I filled up my car in the morning just after my daughter’s swim lesson. It was $1.57 per litre when we filled up. We went to Maccas after so that she could play in the play area and have a Happy Meal. The whole adventure took 45 minutes. When we came back, petrol was $1.47 per litre. Yes you read that right, in the space of 45 minutes the price dropped ten cents a litre. This meant that I could’ve saved $6.50 just by waiting 45 minutes.

This is an all too common scenario for people across Australia. Prices can fluctuate anywhere between $1.60 per litre for unleaded and then drop to $1.32 in the space of a few hours. The price difference can be significant as people can end up spending $20-$25 more simply by rolling the dice when they fill up their car. It is essentially gambling without any kind of return – there is risk but no reward.

In many countries petrol is nationalised and prices do not fluctuate so greatly. I remember in Egypt how stable prices were for both petrol and LNG (liquid natural gas) despite the economy suffering greatly. And of course in the Gulf where there is no shortage of petrol anytime soon.

Here in Australia we need to do something to address pricing issues – especially when our energy security is at stake.

There is an app where you can lock in the price of petrol and pre purchase at that rate – which is a great idea! But more transparency is needed to address exactly why retailers change the prices so drastically and so often.

When you are trying to budget, especially due to the rising cost of living, drastic changes to pricing can have a significant impact on your ability to spend on other essential products and services such as food, utilities, daycare, public transport etc

A recent study highlighted that Queenslanders spend the most on petrol per year due to the prices being the highest in the country.

Around Moreton Bay you only need to drive all the way from Griffin to Redcliffe to see the dramatic shift in prices between each service station, from 7/11, Caltex, Puma and Costco – again you could be spending many dollars more depending on where you fill up.

It’s time our leaders do something to address this issue and fix it so that we don’t experience the price anxiety we are facing now.

What do you think about the price of petrol? What do you think needs to be done? Please comment I’d love to hear!

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