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Australian petrol prices pass previous March highs as cost of living crisis continues

As petrol prices surpass the dizzying highs seen earlier this year, a simple trick could mean big savings for Aussie drivers.

A simple trick could save drivers up to 40c a liter on fuel as the country’s dizzying petrol prices continue to soar.

Unleaded fuel at some Brisbane service stations cost as much as $2.24 a liter this week, $0.03 a liter more than Queensland’s previous high in March.

It comes as other major capital cities are experiencing similar headaches, with unleaded fuel reaching prices of up to $2.26 a liter in Sydney, $2.25 a liter in Melbourne, $2.24 a liter in Adelaide and $2.09 a liter in Hobart.

The message to consumers from experts like Compare the Market spokesperson Chris Ford is to constantly check fuel cost tracking websites and apps to find the best deals, as prices can vary greatly at different service stations.

“You could be paying too much for your fuel, so the best bet is to do your homework and use the fuel comparison apps to find that cheaper fuel,” Mr Ford said.

“Very often it could be one suburb or one street away.”

He said there were discrepancies of nearly 40c a liter in Sydney because of where the city was placed in the fuel price cycle.

“The best thing to do is shop around, it really depends where each city is at in the price cycle,” Mr Ford said.

“These discrepancies are at their greatest when these new high prices hit boards. In Sydney and Brisbane, where we are seeing these record prices, there is a very small window for motorists to find cheaper fuel.

“Just this morning I saw fuel marked (in Sydney) at $1.85 for unleaded 91, with the highest price $2.24. That’s nearly a 40c a liter difference.”

He said while the discrepancies in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were smaller, drivers could still save 10 to 15c a liter if they looked around.

A brief reprieve was experienced when the Coalition government halved the fuel excise for petrol and diesel in this year’s federal budget.

The average price of petrol sank to as low as $1.60 a liter during April, but it has since surged and gone past March’s eye-watering prices.

But Mr Ford said the current prices would be even higher without the excise cut.

“These are extraordinary prices at a time we’re all feeling the pinch at the hip pocket,” he said.

“Oil prices are just below the highs of the early March pre-halving of the excise. It’s just staggering to think that these prices without the halving of the excise could be close to $2.50 a litre.”

The six-month cut was introduced to deal with the volatile petrol market after Russia’s war in Ukraine affected supply.

The newly elected Labor government has previously confirmed that it will not be extending the fuel excise cut when it finishes in September.

“We’ve made our position clear and it is not our intention to change that, there are other ways to deal with the cost of living,” Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles told Sunrise in late May.

Some of these cost of living measures will be introduced in October’s budget, though Anthony Albanese has not ruled out more immediate relief.

“Some measures are in place to alleviate some cost of living pressures, and they’re short term. That’s what the former government put in place with our support in terms of the budget measures,” the Prime Minister said on Thursday.

“We will, of course, always consider what can be done, but there is a fiscal context here (and) we will be economically responsible as a government.”

But in the meantime, Mr Ford warned there “could be more pain to come”, with oil prices predicted to go up.

“We have seen Goldman Sachs among others forecast that oil could get up to $150 a barrel. It currently trades at around $123,” he said.

“So it looks like there could be more pain to come.”

It all comes ahead of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, with petrol prices historically known to increase over public holidays.

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