The price of petrol in Canberra was more than 25 cents higher than in Melbourne, and close to 25 cents higher than in Sydney over the past week, according to the latest fuel price update.
While price falls of 10 cents in Sydney to 130.8 cents a litre, and almost 6 cents in Melbourne to 128.1 cents contributed to another national slide of 3.6 cents to an average price of 137.9 cents, Canberra’s fuel remained steady, dropping just 0.2 cents to 154.0 cents per litre – the second most expensive capital city in the country.
CommSec Economist Savanth Sebastian said Canberra prices are most heavily influenced by competition and transportation considerations.
He said the gap between Canberra and Sydney prices has widened from an average of about 7 cents per litre last year, to 10 cents per litre since the start of 2013 – but this was more to do with competition in Sydney.
“If anything retailers have been passing on the savings far quicker in Sydney than you see in Canberra,” he said.
Mr Sebastian said the discounting cycle in some of the bigger cities on the eastern seaboard had, in some instances, driven pump prices below cost – something Canberra motorists won’t see due to the lack of competition.
“The only reason you’d see fuel prices at or below cost price is price pressure and competition,” he said.
While Canberra prices could drop by about 1 or 2 cents a litre in the coming weeks, he said it was unlikely prices in the ACT would get much closer to the low prices being offered in the bigger capitals.
“I wouldn’t be holding out,” Mr Sebastian said.
The average price of fuel in Australia has been dropping continuously for two months, and has fallen by about 14 cents since mid-February. However looking ahead, the CommSec reports predicts the national average price will rise by 2-3 cents in the coming fortnight.