'Greedy' Petrol Price Hikes Slammed Over Huge Markups, Profits

Some service stations are putting a 60 cent per litre markup on petrol, it has been claimed, with the company been slammed for hiking prices on customers.

RACQ -- Queensland's peak motoring body -- called out five Caltex service stations across the state for hiking unleaded prices for "no good reason", accusing the company of using global turmoil and simmering tensions as an excuse.

The sudden price spike has come after two of Saudi Arabia's major oil fields were attacked earlier this month, halting about five percent of the world's oil supply and further raising fears of conflict in the Middle East.

The servos raised prices to 177.9 cents per litre, putting Caltex in place to make margins of 60 cents for every litre of petrol sold, the RACQ said.

10 daily has contacted Caltex for comment.

Photo: Getty

“The margins they’re making are up more than 30 cents per litre on when we last saw retail prices this high in October 2018," RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said.

"At that point, the Brent oil price had peaked at US$85 per barrel – currently it’s US$22 lower."

"There’s no good reason for the hike this time around. It’s one that’s clearly being driven by greed and they’re using global uncertainty as an excuse."

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Drone attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia earlier this month knocked out more than half of the kingdom's production. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quick to blame Iran.

Other tensions in the Strait of Hormuz -- a narrow patch of water which separates Oman and Iran, and an important shipping route for 40 percent of the world's oil trade -- have also led to oil price volatility.

Smith urged motorists to be wary of price hikes at the bowser, with the risk more of service stations taking advantage of the situation.

"This move demonstrates the volatility of the fuel market and proves why everyone needs to be buying from those offering the best deals,” she said.

“If you need to buy, aim for those servos selling unleaded for 140 cents per litre or less."

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On Tuesday, NRMA's Peter Khoury said even before the drone attacks, petrol prices were set to rise.

Khoury blamed that on the United States' escalating trade war with China, a weak Australian dollar and oil-producing nations cutting production to increase prices.

Photo: Getty

Melbourne residents, who have already started their holidays, copped the highest rise last week, with a jump of 15.2 cents a litre to 147.9 cents a litre.

The fluctuation of petrol prices is a complex thing.

A complex relationship between macro factors, like oil prices or exchange rates, and micro factors like retailer competition and other local issues, interplay to set the price you pay.

With AAP.