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Australian petrol prices hit 14-year low

fuel bowser

But with retail margins at their highest levels, consumers aren't enjoying full savings.

Despite offering some of the cheapest petrol prices in almost a decade and a half, fuel retailers are denying customers the full benefits and savings of reduced oil prices, according to Australia's competition regulator.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed that in 2015-16 average Aussie petrol prices were at their lowest levels since 2002. Comparatively, gross retail margins were also at their highest levels last financial year since 2002.

The average price of fuel across Australia's five biggest cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) in 2015-16 was 121.7 cents per litre.

Gross retail margins within the same demographics averaged 11.2 cents per litre in 2015-16.

In 2015-16 the relative contribution of "other costs and margins" (including both retail and wholesale costs and margins) increased to 17% of the average retail petrol price. While the international price of refined petrol (Mogas 95) remained the greatest contributor to average fuel costs, its relative contribution decreased from 49% to 42% year-on-year in 2015–16.

Crude oil and international refined petrol prices were at their lowest in more than 10 years in 2015-16.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says to boost competitive pressure, consumers should shop around and reward retailers offering the best-priced fuel.

Technology is also playing a part in assisting Australians to find the cheapest petrol prices. A number of companies have launched smartphone apps providing real-time bowser prices. The information, only recently available, is gleaned from data provider Informed Sources and four major petrol retailers.

"We encourage people who are concerned about petrol prices to take advantage of these apps. Motorists have the ability to drive competition in the fuel sector literally in their hands," Sims says.

Matching the low price of petrol, diesel and LPG were also cheap to buy in 2015-16. Diesel prices averaged 121 cents per litre across the five biggest cities, 19.4 cents per litre lower than 2014-15, and the lowest annual average price since 1998-99. LPG retailed, on average, for 64.2 cents per litre in 2015-16, 6.5 cents per litre less than the previous year, and the lowest annual average price since 2004-05.

Want to be rewarded for fuelling up your car? Consider a petrol rewards credit card.

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