Volatile fuel prices throw Big Lap budgets into chaos

Published: July 16, 2021
Fuel prices

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.”

  • How much did you pay the last time you filled up? Are fluctuating fuel prices affecting your travel plans? Comment below.
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6 months ago

If you want to travel, paying the price of fuel is the only way its going to happen.

Guy Williams
6 months ago
Reply to  brett

I agree.

Kathy Smythe
6 months ago

Hard to budget well, when fuel is all.ovwr the place , 5 or 10 cents is bad enough, but 30 cents a lt, is way over the top.
The rich get richer

6 months ago

Why the hell is there a weekly price cycle?

Gary Seen
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Yes Alex i travel every year in Thailand and we NEVER see any variation in fuel prices
So here im sure we are getting conned
Maybe all the excise the gov get off fuel prices ,there probably not super quick to challenge the price

6 months ago
Reply to  Gary Seen

The price of fuel here in Thailand is 37 baht .(chiang rai)which is $1.50 aus.

Fred Whitford
6 months ago

When we first commenced to roam, over seven years ago. We paid $1.60 per litre at Chindarah in 2014. Prices haven’t hit 2014 levels for a long time.

6 months ago
Reply to  Fred Whitford

In ‘86, ‘87 ‘88 we were paying a flat $2.00 per litre for diesel at Blackstone (Papulankutja) – in the Central Desert. In 2008 Kununurra fuel prices were approaching $2.00/ li diesel.
It can be said that fuel prices in Oz today are better than 13 yrs ago. The evidence is in the site referenced below. Car rego, service costs etc certainly haven’t remained idle – nor has the cost of a loaf of bread.
Check the price fluctuation over past 20 yrs here: https://fleetautonews.com.au/historical-pump-prices-in-australia/

6 months ago

It’s simply price gouging, exploiting the opportunity. The usual excuse of oil price and conversion rates just don’t cut it anymore, travellers are simply seen as an opportunity to fleece, however nothing new.

Ian Jempson
6 months ago

Hi, to be fair we spent close to $11k in fuel going around Oz. It took us 30 months for the trip. This equates to under $100 p/w, fluctuations do add to the bill, however cycles do go up and down. Problem comes if you need to rush your trip the weekly cost will increase significantly. The longer you take the less weekly output. I found camping costs far exceeded fuel, we did free camp as well.

Bas + Eve
6 months ago

More excise, more GST. We must all pay for Aust mounting debt and covid blow outs.

Graham W
6 months ago

Fuel is not really a significant cost to consider currently. Saying that when the price rises that the rich get richer is rubbish. Invest in a few oil producers shares for an each way bet. Just wait until the battery car greenies get their way and try to even get fuel then, at any price.

6 months ago

Thank you, Joe Biden! President Trump took the USA put of the competitive world market because of his opening up of US-oil. That lost demand dropped the prices. Biden did away will all that…among other things. Look at supermarket prices just this week…up 5%. Fuel costs get bumped over to the consumer. What a mess…..

Rob McNamara
6 months ago

We paid $1.85 a Litre at Nocundra in Outback NSW the fill was $221.00. If I could have made it another 100 Klms to Thargomindah where Diesel was a $1.60 a Litre.

6 months ago

Not travelling very far this year due to medical issues but as I travel on a very limited budget the cost of fuel is always a worry when I do.

Stephen Purchase
6 months ago

High fuel pricing from suppliers will only help the electric vehicle industries, dont they see higher fuel will force mainly city cars to go electric as they wont see the cost as they plug in every night, not having to look at the bowser price and trying to get the cheep cycle

Aussie traveller
6 months ago

Its important to remember that you are paying a large portion of costs per litre in tax, for example in NSW you pay a state tax and then GST on the petrol and the State tax, which adds up to more than the profit of the servo you purchased the petrol from. Does anyone remember the 4 cents for 4 years levy by NSW Government its still being paid today .

Michael george
6 months ago

They don’t care is the simple answer…

Christopher Gray
6 months ago

Its funny after the end of the Queensland school holidays the price dropped 20 cents a litre. Funny how this happens every time.

Guy Williams
6 months ago

They put the price up, because of demand.


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