Petrol in Perth remains on track to break the $2 per litre barrier for the second time in the space of two months when the fortnightly cycle hits a new high on Wednesday.
But Motor Trade Association chief executive Stephen Moir tipped unleaded was likely to soar even further beyond that amid fresh uncertainty in global energy markets sparked by fears Russia is on the cusp of cutting off its supply of natural gas to Finland in retaliation to the Nordic nation’s plans to join NATO.
On Friday, wholesale petrol was selling for 178.9c per litre, the most expensive level it has reached since the end of March.
Mr Moir said the news out of Russia – which supplies around 10 per cent of Finland’s electricity needs – left him with little doubt petrol prices would continue rising.
“I think the wholesale price in Perth will certainly breach $1.80 per litre, it is just a matter of how quickly,” he said.
“In March (after Russia invaded Ukraine) we had two consecutive weeks where the wholesale price jumped by 10c per litre.”
Perth’s fortnightly petrol cycle means the retail price charged at the bowser spikes to its highest level every second Wednesday, before steadily dropping over the next 13 days.
However, the elevated price of wholesale petrol – which is purchased in bulk from at the terminal gate by the likes of Ampol, Caltex Woolworths and Coles Express – led to the average price increasing marginally between Saturday and Sunday, from 177.4cpl to 177.5cpl.
That is slated to fall to 177.3cpl on Monday and would usually be expected to fall to its lowest point on Tuesday, before jumping substantially on Wednesday.
The last two petrol cycles have brought average price jumps in excess of 26cpl – and Mr Moir said he would be surprised if bowser prices remained below $2 per litre come Wednesday.
“People unfortunately need to brace for that,” he said.
“What is really going to frighten them is come September when the temporary halving of the fuel excise ends, petrol will be up around $2.30 per litre.”
Slashing fuel excise in half was a key plank of the Morrison Government’s March Budget, which immediately saved motorists 22.1cpl on the price of petrol and diesel.
However, the cut is only in place for six months and is due to expire in September – at which point the price of fuel will jump by 22.1cpl almost overnight.
Prior to the excise cut, the average price of petrol in Perth reached a record high in excess of $2.12.
With the conflict in Ukraine showing no sign of reaching a resolution prior to September, Mr Moir said there was every chance global oil prices would remain elevated well into the future.
“If the excess cut isn’t maintained beyond September we could easily see prices above $2.30 per litre in Perth,” he said.
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