Australian Motorists Urged to Fill Up As Fuel Tax Gets Reinstated

Australian Motorists Urged to Fill Up As Fuel Tax Gets Reinstated
Fuel nozzles rest in a fuel dispenser at a petrol station in Melbourne, Australia, on July 23, 2013. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Alfred Bui

Energy experts urged Australian motorists to fill up their cars as the Labor government reintroduces the full fuel excise, which is expected to lift petrol prices by 25 cents (US 16 cents) a litre at the bowser.

The excise, which was halved by the former Morrison Government in March to help drivers deal with soaring petrol costs due to the war in Ukraine, expired on Sept. 28.

While fuel prices are not expected to surge immediately following the reinstatement, Chris Ford–an energy expert at the price comparison website Compare the Market—said motorists would soon feel the impact.

Expert’s Advice

Ford advised drivers to shop around as prices at different petrol stations in the same location could vary significantly.

“Just checking out a fuel comparison app can take a matter of seconds but can very often find cheaper fuel that’s one suburb or even one street away,” Ford said.

At the same time, he noted that the price difference between the cheapest and most expensive fuel in many capital cities could go up to 40 cents a litre.

“If you’re filling a 50-litre tank, that could mean a saving of $20 at the pump. If you can find that cheaper fuel every week, that’s a $1,000 over the course of the year,” Ford said.

Fuel prices are listed on a fuel price board at a petrol station in Melbourne, Australia, on March 14, 2022. (AAP Image/Diego Fedele)
Fuel prices are listed on a fuel price board at a petrol station in Melbourne, Australia, on March 14, 2022. (AAP Image/Diego Fedele)

He also said that while the wholesale fuel price had gone down considerably since the start of September, retail prices had soared.

According to the latest report from the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average retail petrol price jumped by 10.4 cents to $1.74 a litre in the week ending Sept. 25.

In contrast, the average wholesale price dipped 2.1 cents to $1.50 a litre during the week.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would closely monitor retailers to ensure that they did not unjustifiably raise prices when the fuel tax returned to normal.

High Fuel Prices Affect Australians on Welfare

Meanwhile, a survey by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) found that the high cost of fuel and other necessities significantly impacted Australian households on welfare who are living off $48 a day.

Specifically, the study said that 70 percent of respondents, who were on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and the Parenting Payment had difficulty travelling to work and doctors appointments because fuel prices increased.

“People on low, fixed incomes were already struggling with covering basic costs before the cost of living skyrocketed,” ACOSS acting chief executive Edwina MacDonald said.

“People on Jobseeker, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment face impossible choices. No one should have to choose between food and medicine, but these are exactly the choices being forced on people in Australia, one of the world’s wealthiest nations.”

In the face of rising living cost pressures, Nationals leader David Littleproud has called on the federal government to include relief measures in its October budget.

“(Treasurer Jim Chalmers) is saying this will be a bread and butter budget. Well, he’s dead right because that’s about all Australian families will be able to afford after he finishes with them,” he said.

“You’ve got fuel, you’ve got food, you’ve got energy and interest rates all bearing down on Australian families.”

Alfred Bui is an Australian reporter based in Melbourne and focuses on local and business news. He is a former small business owner and has two master’s degrees in business and business law. Contact him at [email protected].
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