The escalating crisis in Ukraine has sparked yet another surge in the price of crude oil.
And that will almost certainly mean further pain at the bowser for grey nomads and all vehicle-owning Australians.
The Australian Institute of Petroleum reports that, at the week ending on February 20, the average price for fuel in Australia of 179.1 cents per litre for 91 octane unleaded, an all-time high and a surge of nearly 30 cents above the lowest point over the last six months.
The average price of diesel at the end of last week stood at 178.5cpl, just 0.6cpl less than 91 octane.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin today recognising the independence of pro-Moscow separatist factions in Luhansk and Donetsk, military conflict appears closer than ever … and the markets have reacted accordingly.
At the time of writing, Brent crude oil has already risen by 2% and is trading at $97.42 a barrel. Some analysts are warning that crude oil could comfortably shoot above $100 a barrel if tensions in Ukraine erupt into full-blown war.
In Sydney and in Hobart, the average price for unleaded has risen to 190.2 cents per litre. Darwin which is currently experiencing a high of 187.6cpl, and Canberra 179.2cpl. Brisbane is seeing highs of 182.9cpl, while Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide are the only three capital cities to sit under the 179.1cpl mark, Adelaide recording the lowest average of 164.8cpl.
“We’ve pretty much broken the record in every town and every city in Australia,” the NRMA’s Peter Khoury said. “Our concern is if these factors that are driving prices up don’t change and they don’t change quickly, then the rest of the country could see prices in the $1.90s as well.”
The pain that many Australians will be feeling at the bowser will perhaps once again draw attention to the amount of tax that is levied on fuel.
Fuel excise is a flat sales tax levied by the Australian Government on petrol and diesel bought at the bowser. The current rate is 44.2 cents in excise for every litre of fuel purchased.
This rate is adjusted from time to time in line with inflation and is in addition to the GST.
The prospect of lowering this excise as a way of offering consumers some relief from sky-high fuel prices is not one the government often discusses.