- Changes to pricing pattern see a disruption to the usual weekly petrol price cycle
- Indications that major outlets may be creating a fortnightly cycle as others follow
- FuelWatch monitoring prices to confirm if the new cycle is established long-term
FuelWatch reports a disruption to the usual petrol price cycle in Perth with price hikes now appearing to occur fortnightly instead of weekly.
For almost two years the weekly cycle has been consistent with most fuel outlets in the Perth metropolitan area and Mandurah increasing their regular unleaded petrol (ULP) prices every Wednesday by about 40 cents per litre (cpl). Prior to February 2020 the hike in average prices occurred every Tuesday and in the years prior to June 2015 the hike occurred every Thursday. The weekly cycle began in 2009.
In recent weeks, most of Perth’s major fuel companies have been slowly conforming to a fortnightly cycle that was first begun by Ampol outlets which will result in price hikes every second Wednesday. The cheapest day is still a Tuesday but will now only occur every second Tuesday, a day before the fortnightly Wednesday hike. The next cheap Tuesday is expected to be on 19 October 2021.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 13 October 2021, most fuel retailers will continue to decrease their petrol prices, being about midway through the new fortnightly cycle. The exceptions are United branded sites, which seem to be continuing the weekly cycle by hiking their prices tomorrow up to 20 cpl.
FuelWatch Manager Ben Derecki said motorists can no longer assume that every Tuesday is the “cheap petrol day” so must change their habits and plan their fuel purchases to save money.
“This latest change in the cycle will make it more difficult for Perth motorists to find cheaper petrol if they fill up every week,” Mr Derecki said.
“For those who fill up fortnightly, it may be possible to time those visits to the petrol station to coincide with the bottom of the price cycle every second Tuesday, but that task is more difficult for those who need to fill up more regularly.
“We would suggest that motorists who need to fill-up mid-cycle consider only partially filling their vehicle until they can fill-up closer to the bottom of the two-week price cycle. FuelWatch will continue to issue hike alerts on the day before.
“Previous disruptions to the cycle involved a change in the day of the week in which the price hike occurred, making it easier for consumers to adjust, but this change makes planning fill-ups more problematic.
“FuelWatch has contacted the fuel companies but no explanation for the change in the price cycle was provided.
“The price cycle disruption comes at the worst possible time while we are seeing record prices at the bowser due to increases in international oil and petrol prices, so the need to find less expensive fuel to make savings is even more important for consumers.
“It emphasises the need for motorists to visit the FuelWatch website to source the cheapest petrol in their area on any day, and make use of the price cycle graph that indicates at what point we are in the cycle to help motorists plan the best day to fill up.”
Drivers can head to the mobile compatible www.fuelwatch.wa.gov.au site to find the cheapest fuel in their area on any given day. The price cycle graph is also available on the FuelWatch website.
The all-time record for the daily average price for ULP in Perth was 174.1 cpl on 6 October 2021 and, on the same day, a record highest price for individual sites of 183.9 cpl was recorded.
Graph: Perth daily average price of ULP to 13 October 2021 and expected trend to 20 October 2021