Keeping up with fuel prices (and getting the best deal)

Fuel prices in Australia are “determined by the market”, which means there are a number of factors that can affect the cost we consumer pay at the pump. While some of these factors can be related to elements outside of control, such as global supply and demand, world events and so on, retailer strategies can also play a part in the cost of petrol.

Fuel prices and cycles are reported to the ACCC, who also provide advice on upcoming prices and the best times to buy. Depending on where you live, you may have tools like the NSW FuelWatch app.

In WA, consumer have the additional advantage of the 24 hour rule, which aims to increase price transparency. It means that service stations must nominate fuel prices in advance and no price changes can occur within a 24 hour period. In other states and territories, intra-day price changes can occur depending on what service stations are doing in the area.

  • Following from this thread, how do you feel about fuel prices in your area?

  • How difficult do you find tracking down the best value fuel prices with the tools available?

  • Have you noticed fuel price changes occuring on the same day?

  • Have you noticed big price fluctuations in a short period of time?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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The March 2022 pre-election budget holds a temporary reduction in fuel excise of 22 cpl. Around a $30 per week benefit for one government version of the average 2 car family.

One question is about whether it will be fully passed on and how the ACCC will enforce the full reduction?

It’s interesting to look back to previous posts.

Prices were as low as 100 cpl. There are some examples less than 90 cpl. Petrol prices have been volatile and on the rise for some time. Petrol is currently costing nearly twice as much as it did 6 months ago, or up 80-100 cpl more. The 22 cpl saving will not offset the increases.

I’m having trouble with the maths getting to $30 weekly savings for 2 average vehicles or $15 for one. If anyone can help out. Assume 12,000 km annual use and 12.5l/100km. I can only save $7.20 including gst weekly per vehicle. Perhaps we are not all average families?


Using a “saving” of 24.2 cents per litre, you would need to use 62 litres per car per week to save $15 for each car. It is a big stretch to say that the average family buys 124 litres of petrol per week.

Regarding your question about whether the full saving will be passed on to customers, it is highly likely that the answer will be highly unlikely.


Probably the fuel usage is based on Comcar fuel bills as most Federal Pollies would be using either vouchers or supplied vehicles and so have no idea of reality. While the driver waits they would keep the engine running to keep the car temp in a reasonable range for the location and the driver’s comfort.

With the average kilometres travelled per day by Australians at around 36 km, over 7 days this would be 256 km and at an average 10 litres per 100 km this would mean per car 30 litres per week ( or less). At 24c reduction per litre the saving would be $7.20 per car or $14.40 per 2 car family a vast difference to the budget forecast. If the higher usage of 12.4 l/km was used the savings would be about a dollar a week more per car.

To achieve the budget savings Australians would have to double the average overnight and maintain that for 6 months. I strongly doubt such an outcome is possible, likely, or even really contemplated. It seems to me a furphy to sway those who don’t understand how little the average travel is per car.


Average use - not sure if there are later figures but the ABS seem to have ceased doing them:

Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia, 12 Months ended 30 June 2020 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (

Average kilometres travelled for passenger vehicles - 11,100
Average litres per 100 kilometres for passenger vehicles - 11.1

It’s not you having trouble with the maths, even if you went with the figures for the NT and used the light commercial assuming they all drove four wheel drives !! :rofl:


Fuel prices at major outlets are determined by:

  1. whether the company subscribes to a service of 15 minute geographic information run by Informed Sources.
  2. what the company does with this data feed - do they have a person or a computer algorithm monitoring it 672 times a week?
    Once decision is made that brand X servo at location A has to change their ULP price to $1.95 and brand X servo at location B has to change their ULP price to $2.05, how are these decisions implemented?

Federal government knows this The Economics of Fuelwatch – Parliament of Australia
“there is a problem of ‘information asymmetry’. The large petrol retailers subscribe to a service from a company called ‘Informed Sources’.”
ACCC know this too.


Great time to get an EV


If this is accurate, people weren’t that interested in fuel economy when they bought their vehicle. If it hurts them in the hip pocket today, it was their decision.

My current drive is a 2008 Honda Civic, fuel economy was a consideration when it was bought. It returns about 8-9L/100km at worst, and around 6.5L/100km on trips. Let’s say that’s 3L less than the average quoted above. In the 200,000km currently on the clock, I’ve saved 6000L of fuel compared to the average. I don’t like paying higher prices for fuel, but isn’t that just the way it is going. On a CPI adjusted basis fuel today is probably cheaper than 50 years ago, and cars were far less efficient. So we really don’t have much reason to complain.

People may say they want something more comfortable/roomy/speedy/rugged but unless they have more than the average number of children they are making a lifestyle choice. So pay for it.

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This average fuel usage is the figure supplied by the Bureau of Statistics and used to compare what is average against what the LNP Govt said a 2 car family would save. Sure some cars will have great numbers, others don’t. So how do we compare if we don’t use some measure to compare against, in your case the savings would even be far less than the Govt surmised in their budget. So the loss of Govt revenue will be less than they quoted and families will be saving far less than the promised figures, and even based on the 11.1 litres per 100 km the savings do not still occur. This wasn’t about life style choices.


Considering many of those with a large 4WD use them for work and play driving 2-3 the average distance and with greater than average fuel consumption/emissions. It will certainly be a saving.


Based on the average though there will not be a large saving based on average users. Of course there will be a few who save at the level the Govt espouses, by the same token there will be some who save far less. Based on the average there will not be the savings promised to most users and there certainly will not be the loss to budgeted revenue.


… Also consider the formulas for salary sacrificing vehicles. Unless they have changed in recent years they reward more rather than less driving, or put another way comparatively penalise those who don’t drive a lot but still need/use/want a vehicle.


Finally with the help of an ex Treasury Official and others, The Conversation answers:
What will the fuel excise cut save you? Not as much as the Treasurer says

Our results show the six-month cut to the fuel excise will save the average household in inner-urban areas of Sydney and Melbourne about $132. The average households in outer suburbs will save about $242. Those in the outer suburbs of smaller cities will save less as they need to drive shorter distances. The average household in rural and remote areas will save $194.

Approx $5-$9 per week average saving.

The Conversation makes a number of observations on who benefits most from the excise reduction. Whether it is economically sound a more strategic targeting of assistance for those on lower incomes and critical businesses with high fuel usage is suggested as a better alternative.

A better approach would be target help to businesses that must buy fuel and to those on low incomes, such as through a cash bonus, leaving it to them to decide if they want to spend on petrol or other things.
This would also help those without a car, those who do not drive much and those with electric vehicles, who all face cost pressures as petrol prices feed into prices at the supermarket.

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Some simple advice on how to save on fuel:

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The toll operators via the linkt app (in Victoria) also offer a 4cpl discount at participating Shells. Comparing local costs prior to discounts is still required to see if that additional 4cpl is a saving and by how much.

Other discounts can be used at the same time. A linkt account is required but it can be a rego matching one or the transponder type. I use the toll road maybe once every few years and have a rego matching account but save an extra dollar or two each time we top up.


Unleaded 91 locally is now down in the range of $1.60 to $1.70 before discount. Still expensive relative to a few months ago.

The high volume Shells on the M1 (QLD) going north seem to be stuck on a $1.80 (excuse rounding out the one tenth of a cent). It’s a premium for the convenience or a bit like a lazy tax for not shopping around before one leaves home? It certainly pays to check before hand.

For those after premium 98 or diesel the prices appear to have remained higher than expected.

Diesel is the predominant fuel used in transport. It would seem the temporary relief in fuel excise might not be as effective in keeping those related consumer costs down? It might need some further explaining, given we must now factor in electoral cycles to the fuel cycle equations?


Costco Bundamba on their Premium 98 still have a price of 168.7 cents/litre, E10 is 152.7 cents/litre and diesel is 176.7 cents/litre.


Costco at NorthLakes has the same pricing.

Up the road,
Shell - Coles Express at WildHorse Mtn (Coochin Ck) has U98 202.9 cpl and diesel 198.7 cpl.

It’s a significant difference for the convenience of the M1 although one can also load up at Hungry Jacks, MacD’s, Beefy’s Pies etc in the same stop.

Assume the same opportunities and disparity in pricing arises on the principle highways leading out of every Aussie capital. There are evidently sufficient numbers of customers to support the premium prices, and not so concerned about the cost.


It is routine to see two servos almost across from each other with a $0.05pl price difference and both are as busy as. ‘Points’? ‘Discounts’? Convenience being on the right side of the street? No diversion required especially when heading somewhere on the M1? A corporate card only valid at the one? Or as you wrote, not concerned about the costs.