While many grey nomads are currently keeping an anxious eye on ever-changing border restrictions, it’s not the only factor creating a lot of uncertainty around the Big Lap.
In recent weeks, wildly fluctuating fuel prices have kept travellers on their toes as they have been forced to ride a budgetary roller-coaster.
While they have dropped again in the last few days, petrol prices a week or so ago soared to an eye-watering $1.70-plus per litre … in the capital cities?
According to RAA spokesperson, Mark Borlace, that price was nearly double what it was at its cheapest rate of 89c/litre during the worst impact of global pandemic last year.
The mass return of cars and trucks on the road, Russia and the OPEC oil cartels flexing their muscles and the fortnightly price cycle are all said to be to blame.
Mr Borlace said the underlying price had gone up by about 30c/litre during the last year and that oil companies were now returning to cyclic pricing.
“We are potentially getting back to a new normal where there are 40-50c spikes every two weeks,” he said. “People on a budget would be advised to check the real time fuel app, try to buy at the low point of the cycle and make a tank last a fortnight.”
Underlying all of this is the fact that the largest oil producing nations around the world are cutting supplies.
Chief economist at CommSec Craig James said Opec+ has been keeping supply of oil tight while the members wait to see how everything pans out globally with vaccinations and opening up post-Covid.
“Then there is the debate amongst Opec+ oil producers about whether to maintain production quotas or whether to lift production and thus prevent oil prices rising too far, too fast,” he said. “And prices could go either way in the near future depending on how the Opec+ disagreement is resolved.”