Rising costs may bust budgets at the bowser

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The cost of taking the ‘Big Lap’ looks set to get even bigger over coming weeks as fuel prices look poised to rise significantly.

Iran’s threat of a blockade in the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping passage for oil transport, is the latest global issue to affect fuel pricing. And it’s already meant a nasty shock at the bowser for diesel-driving grey nomads.

According to data released through the Australian Institute of Petroleum the average national diesel pump price last week (to Sunday 08/01/12) was $1.51. The average for the last 12 months was a more modest $1.48.80. And according to most analysts the only way is up. Expensive crude oil, bubbling political issues in some key Middle Eastern oil producing regions and changes in refinery operations are cited as the key reasons.A rise in diesel prices can be a double whammy for budget-conscious travellers as it generally means higher food prices as well.

In a state by state breakdown, the Northern Territory is still the roughest place to chew up the highway … with diesel prices peaking at a worrying $1.60 last week. The high in NSW / ACT was $1.51.10; in Victoria it was $1.48.70; in Queensland it was $1.50.60; in South Australia it was $1.50.80; in Western Australia it was $1.53.90; and in Tasmania it was $1.54.30.

While unleaded petrol prices have dipped slightly in recent weeks, they are also expected to increase due to various political issues. Drivers in New South Wales are already being warned to brace themselves for significant price hikes when the sale of regular unleaded fuel is banned from July and demand for ethanol-blended and premium unleaded fuel rises.

”We believe demand will exceed supply,” said BP spokesperson, Jamie Jardine. ”Consumers, particularly in rural areas, will have to pay more.”

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