January saw the lowest petrol prices in six years

The first quarterly report into the Australian petroleum industry for 2015 has been released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), revealing a price decrease to 109.2 cents per litre (cpl) in the month of January – the lowest monthly average since 2009.

The latest report, following Minister Bruce Billson’s request for quarterly reports monitoring and analysing Australia’s fuel market for three years, revealed a 28.1 cpl drop from June to December (123.8 cpl).

“The combined reduction in petrol prices of 42.7 cpl is unusual, and would be worth around $1000 per year to the average household if sustained,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“However, petrol prices are volatile. Over half of the petrol price that Australians pay at the pump is due to the international price of fuel.”

According to the ACCC, the reduction in petrol prices across Australia’s five largest cities is consistent with the decrease in international crude oil and refined petrol prices. Weekly Brent crude oil prices were registered at ESD 47 per barrel in mid-January 2015, down from a reading of USD 115 per barrel in June 2014.

The differences between regional and city petrol prices continue to be an issue. Mr Sims said June 2014 saw petrol prices across regional locations clock in at 5.4 cpl higher than prices in Australia’s five largest cities. The differential had increased by December 2014, with regional prices registering at 17.5 cpl higher than prices seen in major cities.

“During January this differential increased in some of the 180 regional locations monitored by the ACCC, and decreased in others,” Mr Sims said.

“Retail petrol prices in the five largest cities started to increase in February 2015, so we would expect the differential to narrow in the remainder of the March quarter 2015. The ACCC will be monitoring this in the period ahead.”

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