Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane’s unleaded fuel prices were at their highest point in two years last week, but they are now dropping and will continue to so in the days and weeks to come.
Rod Attrill, finance and household savings expert at comparison site comparethemarket.com.au, told news.com.au those major cities had already reached the peak in their petrol cycles and that prices were now “coming down the other side”.
“Each day you can hold off on filling up before any long Christmas drives the better,” he explained.
“It’s a better idea to top up rather than fill up with prices coming down until New Year’s or early in the new year – those three cities are seeing prices come off, with some by upwards of 2.5 cents by day.
“That’s a pretty good tip that can save you at the bowser, and also remember that sometimes service stations that are not along the main drive can be a bit cheaper.”
But he urged motorists in Adelaide and Perth to “fill up now” as prices were “on the way up”, with Adelaide due to reach its peak in the next week.
“Prices are certainly going to rise in those cities so if drivers can get out and fill their tanks now, that would be a really good thing to do,” he said.
Mr Attrill said prices were remaining “fairly constant” in Canberra as it had a different petrol price cycle which avoided the “big swings” other cities experienced.
He said all motorists should shop around and use fuel price apps – such as the comparison site’s own Simples Fuel app – to make sure they get the best deal possible.
“In the December quarter, motorists were paying an average of 149 cents per litre (cpl) – 6cpl more than the previous quarter,” Mr Attrill said.
“Fuel in Brisbane was the highest in the country, with a quarterly price average of 152cpl, while Perth motorists paid the least, at 145cpl.
“Petrol prices this Christmas are likely to fall, as most major cities have passed the top of their petrol cycles already, which is a huge relief for motorists filling up at the bowser this festive season.”
Meanwhile, NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the closer to Christmas, the better the prices would be for most Australians.
“It’s gotten to the high point and now prices in most cities are going to start falling,” he said.
“We’re coming off very high highs, and prices will be falling by a cent or two a day in the lead up to Christmas so the longer you leave it the better.
“It won’t get to the lowest point by Christmas but it will come not far off it, so try not to fill up now if you don’t have to – unless you live in Perth, and then you should fill up right away.”
Mr Khoury also encouraged NSW drivers to check the NRMA app, which has prices from every service station in that state in real time.
“The government has got some data on its Fuel Check website and motoring club sites have some information as well. There are also some other apps out there but some are crowdsourced so they’re pretty inaccurate,” he said.
“NSW is the best place to get a bargain if you do your research.”
According to comparethemarket.com.au, Sydney’s current petrol price cycle started on Thursday, December 5 and reached its peak on Friday, December 13 when the average price was 164cpl – the highest petrol has been in two years.
Melbourne is on the same cycle, although its average price at peak was higher at 167cpl.
Petrol prices in Brisbane peaked on Thursday, December 12 with an average price of 171cpl, while those in Adelaide were an average of 5cpl more in the December quarter at 150cpl compared with the September quarter.
Over the quarter, Perth had the cheapest prices for fuel in the country, averaging 145cpl, while Canberra motorists enjoyed the second lowest average price in the country at 148cpl over the December quarter – but an average of 5cpl more than the previous quarter.