Petrol Prices Spiked By A Record 18 Cents A Litre This Week

Aussie drivers are paying an average of 10 cents more per litre for petrol compared to a week ago, after a record lift in prices.

According to data from the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average price of unleaded petrol rose to 136.9 cents per litre in the past week -- a jump of 10.5 cents from the week before, which CommSec said was the biggest weekly leap on record.

Melbourne and Sydney prices lead the charge, jumping up by more than 18 and 17 cents per litre respectively. Nationally, metropolitan prices are up by more than 13 cents to 138.3 cents per litre.

On Monday in Sydney, some stations were charging up to 143.9 per litre, while the cheapest we could find was 115.9 per litre. In Melbourne, 143.9 was the top price, while the lowest we could see was 127.9.

The sharp rise comes after a three-week run of declining prices which saw some petrol stations in Sydney selling fuel for as low as $1.10 per litre.

Image: Getty

Despite an expected price drop of up to five cents per litre over this week, significantly cheaper prices are unlikely to return in the near future -- which could see customers forced to rethink their weekly budgets.

"Together with the higher prices being charged for fruit and vegetables, there are pressures on household budgets," said Craig James, Chief Economist at CommSec.

"Filling up the car with petrol is the biggest weekly purchase for most families. While families can shift demand for fruit and vegetables from dearer to cheaper varieties, there is less flexibility for families with car use."

READ MORE: Why Is Petrol So Expensive And Why Does The Price Change So Quickly?

After a summer of natural disasters -- heatwaves, floods, drought -- Australian fresh produce prices are also currently skyrocketing, with some fruit and vegetable prices up 50 percent.

But while these price increases may be relatively easy to break down, the constant ups and downs of petrol prices are often harder to explain.

CommSec pointed out that global oil prices are currently trading at their highest level since November 12. That is a major factor on its own, with crude oil prices up 35 percent since Christmas alone, and Australian wholesale prices also up.

Other factors like currency exchange rates can also have a big impact on how much you are slugged at the pump.

"As the exchange rate depreciates or oil prices goes up, petrol prices in Australia shoot up like rockets," Abbas Valadkhani, a professor of economics at Swinburne University, explained to 10 daily in September.

"But when the opposite happens, and exchange rates or oil prices go down, petrol prices go down like a feather. It’s rocket and feather stuff,"

Oil prices and exchange rates -- plus micro factors like retailer competition and other local issues -- interplay to set the price you pay at the bowser, Valadkhani said.

Featured image: Getty