2020-21 petrol prices lowest in two decades

    Average retail petrol prices in 2020-21 in Australia’s five largest cities were the lowest in 22 years in real inflation adjusted terms, according to the ACCC’s latest petrol monitoring report.

    The report looks at Australian petrol prices in the 2020-21 financial year and the June quarter 2021.

    Annual average retail prices in 2020-21 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth were 129.7 cents per litre (cpl), a decrease of 4.9 cpl from 2019-20. In real terms, the last time annual average retail prices were lower than this was in 1998-99 when they were 115.0 cpl.

    “Low average petrol prices in the last financial year have come after prices reached record lows around the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims says.

    Low sales continue

    The pandemic has had an enormous impact on demand for petrol in Australia, going back to March last year and this has influenced retail prices and gross retail margins, says Mr Sims.

    In 2020-21, annual petrol sales volumes were around 11 per cent lower than in 2018-19, before the impact of Covid-19.

    “While the June quarter 2021 results show only a relatively small drop in demand for petrol, millions of Australians have been in lockdown since the end of June 2021 and we will see the impact that’s had on fuel sales volumes in our September quarter 2021 report,” he says.

    Other findings

    • Average petrol prices across the more than 190 regional locations monitored by the ACCC were 2.1 cpl lower than average prices in the 5 largest cities. In comparison, in 2019-20 annual average regional prices were 4.0 cpl higher than average prices in the 5 largest cities, and in 2018-19 they were 6.5 cpl higher.
    • Darwin had the lowest average prices among all of the capital cities, which was a significant turnaround from 2013-14 when prices in Darwin were over 19.0 cpl higher than those in the 5 largest cities.
    • More motorists gained access to real-time fuel price data with Tasmania and South Australia commencing state government fuel price transparency schemes and Queensland making their scheme permanent following a 2-year trial. Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory are the only 2 jurisdictions to not have government fuel price transparency schemes.
    • In 2020-21, taxes were the largest component of the price of petrol in the 5 largest cities, and greater than the cost of refined petrol. Taxes accounted for 42 per cent of the price, while the international price of refined petrol accounted for 39 per cent.

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