Fuel prices in Albany hit over $2 a litre for the first time

Headshot of Kasey Gratton
Kasey GrattonAlbany Advertiser
Record petrol prices have hit Albany.
Camera IconRecord petrol prices have hit Albany. Credit: Laurie Benson

Record fuel prices have hit Albany with the cost of unleaded climbing to more than $2 per litre for the first time last week, in what is ultimately a local impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

From February 28 to March 6, the regional average for unleaded petrol in WA was 184.9¢ per litre, according to FuelWatch.

In the past week prices have steadily increased, with several petrol stations hitting 200¢ a litre for the first time on Friday.

On Tuesday most petrol stations around Albany were averaging more than 210¢ per litre.

The highest local price on Tuesday is 217.3¢ per litre at Youngs Siding General Store.

FuelWatch co-ordinator Kyle Huynh said wholesale petrol prices in Australia are driven by the price of ULP in Singapore, which is itself driven by international crude oil prices.

“We’ve seen a huge spike in crude oil prices since November last year,” he said.

“But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated all commodity prices, and crude oil is one of them.

“Russia is a major producer of crude oil . . . and there’s fears that supply may be taken off international markets.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month and the ongoing conflict may seem like a world away from Albany.

But as Russia is the world’s second largest exporter of crude oil, international sanctions put on the country following the invasion of Ukraine are the root cause of higher local petrol prices.

Additionally, diesel prices have increased, as it is also originally derived from crude oil.

Tuesday’s highest price for diesel was also most expensive at Youngs Siding General Store, at 233.1¢ per litre.

Mr Huynh said that although diesel and ULP prices tend to follow each other in long-term trends, in the short-term they can go in “opposite directions”.

“We’ve seen that in the last few weeks with diesel jumping up much more,” he said.

“It’s about three times higher than petrol, and that’s just to do with the diesel market on its own.

“Diesel prices are on their way up and we’re seeing record prices in Perth as well, and that’s likely to flow on through to regional areas as well in coming weeks.”

According to FuelWatch historic data, it can take up to four weeks for regional petrol prices to reflect metro trends, so higher prices could remain in Albany if the prices decrease in Perth.

“In the metro area, retail prices have shot up quite a bit, and we’re obviously seeing record prices in Perth,” Mr Huynh said.

“In regional areas including Albany, it does take a little longer for those price movements to be felt.”

The turbulent nature of current wholesale unleaded prices made it impossible to make predictions of where fuel prices will go in the future, Mr Huynh said.

On March 4, unleaded petrol was selling at about $174 a barrel, increasing to over $210 per barrel in the following week, and ended last week at around $176 per barrel.

“In the past, if it was just trending one certain way, we could say ‘yeah, within the next week or two it will be trending in the same direction’,” he said.

“But because it’s so volatile at the moment, we’re avoiding making any predictions.”

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