Monitoring fuel prices following the excise cut

The ACCC acknowledges the Federal Budget announcement of a six-month reduction in fuel excise from 30 March 2022. We are monitoring fuel prices following this cut in fuel excise.

Update on 13 May 2022

After the cut in fuel excise came into effect on 30 March 2022, ACCC monitoring found significant falls in retail fuel prices in all capital cities and most regional locations.

After 6 weeks, the cuts to fuel excise have clearly been passed on to a large extent. There are other factors that also contributed to price falls around the time of the cuts, such as a decrease in international refined petrol and diesel prices in early April.

From the middle of April, international benchmark refined petrol and diesel prices have increased, influenced by the impact of the war in Ukraine on international crude oil prices. This has led to increases in wholesale prices, which are flowing into retail prices in many locations.

Price reductions following the excise cuts

Regular unleaded petrol prices

In the capital cities, between 29 March and 10 May 2022, the decrease in average daily regular unleaded petrol prices was:

  • more than 39 cents per litre in all of the 5 largest cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth), where petrol price cycles occur
  • between 25 and 48 cents per litre in Canberra, Hobart and Darwin.

The existence of petrol price cycles in the 5 largest cities means that the impact of the cut in excise on retail petrol prices may not be clear to motorists. See Petrol price cycles following the cut in excise.

Petrol prices in most regional centres also decreased significantly. The average decrease across all regional locations that the ACCC monitors was over 31 cents per litre.

Diesel prices

The monitoring also found a reduction in diesel prices in many locations.

In the capital cities, between 29 March and 10 May 2022, the decrease in average daily diesel prices was:

  • more than 30 cents per litre in all of the 5 largest cities
  • between 29 and 32 cents per litre in Canberra, Hobart and Darwin.

Diesel prices in many regional centres also decreased significantly. The average decrease across all regional locations the ACCC monitors was over 29 cents per litre.

There are a relatively small number of locations in regional areas where the decrease in average petrol and diesel prices has so far been smaller than the cut in excise. Many of these locations are smaller and/or in remote areas, where turnover of fuel stocks can be slow. The ACCC is analysing price data in these locations further to determine why the decrease in average prices has been smaller.

Recent increase in prices

Between mid-April and 12 May, regular unleaded petrol wholesale prices increased by around 27 cents per litre and diesel wholesale prices increased by around 28 cents per litre.

These increases are flowing into retail prices in many locations. For example:

  • the peak regular unleaded petrol price in Perth on 4 May 2022 (188.5 cents per litre) was 8.6 cents per litre higher than the previous peak (179.9 cents per litre on 20 April)
  • the peak regular unleaded petrol price in Adelaide on 10 May 2022 (198.9 cents per litre) was 11.1 cents per litre higher than the previous peak (187.8 cents per litre on 23 April).

Petrol price cycles following the cut in fuel excise

The existence of petrol price cycles in the 5 largest cities means that the impact of the cut in excise on retail petrol prices may not be clear to motorists.

However, the price reductions can be seen in the lower peaks and troughs of the price cycles relative to those before the excise cut.

Sydney

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Sydney from 1 March to 4 May 2022.

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Sydney from 1 March to 4 May 2022.

Source: FUELtrac

  • Following the announcement of the excise cut, petrol prices in Sydney reduced by around 40 cents per litre to the next low point of the price cycle.
  • After the excise cut, the peak price in Sydney on 1 May (185.2 cents per litre) was around 32 cents per litre lower than the peak price before the cut (216.8 cents per litre on 14 March).

Melbourne

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Melbourne from 1 March to 4 May 2022.

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Melbourne from 1 March to 4 May 2022.

Source: FUELtrac

  • Following the announcement of the excise cut, petrol prices in Melbourne reduced by around 40 cents per litre to the next low point of the price cycle.
  • After the excise cut, the peak price in Melbourne on 26 April (187.0 cents per litre) was around 31 cents per litre lower than the peak price before the cut (218.4 cents per litre on 15 March).

Brisbane

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Brisbane from 1 March to 4 May 2022.

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Brisbane from 1 March to 4 May 2022.

Source: FUELtrac

  • Following the announcement of the excise cut, petrol prices in Brisbane reduced by around 39 cents per litre to the next low point of the price cycle.
  • After the excise cut, the peak price in Brisbane on 29 April (189.0 cents per litre) was around 31 cents per litre lower than the peak price before the cut (220.2 cents per litre on 15 March).

Adelaide

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Adelaide from 1 March to 4 May 2022.

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Adelaide from 1 March to 4 May 2022.

Source: FUELtrac

  • Following the announcement of the excise cut, petrol prices in Adelaide reduced by around 43 cents per litre to the next low point of the price cycle.
  • After the excise cut, the peak price in Adelaide on 23 April (187.8 cents per litre) was around 33 cents per litre lower than the peak price before the cut (220.6 cents per litre on 11 March).

Perth

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Perth from 17 March to 22 April 2022.

The chart below shows daily average regular unleaded petrol prices in Perth from 17 March to 22 April 2022.

Source: FUELtrac

  • Following the announcement of the excise cut, petrol prices in Perth reduced by around 36 cents per litre to the next low point of the price cycle.
  • After the excise cut, the peak price in Perth on 6 April (181.6 cents per litre) was around 32 cents per litre lower than the peak price before the cut (213.1 cents per litre on 23 March).

Correspondence with fuel companies

The ACCC wrote a letter to the major wholesalers and retailers ( PDF 233.58 KB ) on 31 March 2022 setting out expectations that the cut in excise flows into wholesale and retail prices as soon as possible.

All companies responded in a timely manner, with responses including:

  • wholesalers noted passing on the excise reduction in full to their wholesale prices immediately or as soon as practicable after the Government’s announcement
  • retailers noted that they had reduced retail prices in full or in part within days following the Government’s announcement
  • retailers committed to pass savings on in coming weeks.

Expectations on the price of petrol

  • We expect that the cut in fuel excise will be passed on to consumers in full.
  • Petrol prices at the pump are influenced by a range of fluctuating factors, including the international oil price and the USD/AUD exchange rate. Therefore the price at the pump is expected to continue to vary over time and may differ from the reduction in excise.

We urge consumers to continue to look at information about price cycles in capital cities and consult comparison apps to compare petrol prices. Generally, motorists who fill up at independent chains will save compared to those who shop only at major-branded petrol stations.

Our role in fuel monitoring

  • We closely monitor retail fuel prices and regularly report on fuel prices, costs and profits. We do not set fuel prices.
  • Where we see an issue of concern, we will carefully examine. We can compel refiners, importers, terminal operators, wholesalers and retailers to provide information on fuel prices, costs and profits.
  • Where we find enough evidence, we take action to protect consumers against misleading and anti-competitive conduct by fuel retailers.

Learn more about the ACCC's fuel monitoring role.

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