Petrol prices are at record highs, with fuel costing $3 a liter at some Auckland stations
Petrol prices are at record highs with a number of stations around Auckland now offering 95 unleaded fuel for $3 or more a litre.
The Mobil petrol station on the corner of Ponsonby Road and Karangahape Road was the first to hit the $3 mark. On Saturday, there was Supreme Premium 98 at $3.07 and Supreme Premium 95 at $3.00.
But by Monday, many other gas stations in the city had raised prices from $95 to $3 or more, according to fuel price app Gaspy.
The Caltex on Beach Haven Road in Birkdale had the highest price for 95 at $3.04, followed by the Caltex on Broadway in Epsom with $3.03.
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In Wellington, the cost of 95 had yet to cross the $3 mark, although some stations had prices ranging from $2.95 to $2.99. It was $2.99 at Z stations on Miramar Ave and at the corner of Calabar Road and Broadway.
One station in Christchurch, the GAS on Whites Road in Ohoka, had $95 at $3, but that was a jump from the highest advertised price of $2.86 at seven other stations.
These prices were well above the national average of $2.79 per liter in Gaspy on Monday. This price was 21 cents higher than 28 days ago.
Prices for other fuels were also up, with the average price of 91 petrol up 13c to $2.60, 98 petrol up 25c to $2.92 and diesel up 17c at $1.84.
In January, AA’s top policy adviser, Terry Collins, warned that there was a chance fuel prices could hit $3 this year, and the price could become the norm.
The main factors determining the evolution of the price of fuel in New Zealand are domestic duties and taxes and international prices, he said.
But the price increases were also linked to geopolitical issues and any development with Covid-19.
“It’s very difficult to predict, but I see that at the end of the year prices will be higher than they are now. By what margin is hard to choose, but I would say there will be a slow and steady climb to $3 per liter over the next few years as the norm.
Although concern over high petrol prices prompted a Commerce Commission study in 2019, it has resulted in few tangible gains for motorists to date – although new competition rules allowing independent oil companies to expand their networks came into force last year.
But it wasn’t just gas prices that were rising. The inflation rate jumped to 5.9%, Stats NZ recently reported.
Consumer prices in the three months to the end of December put the annual inflation figure at its highest level since June 1990.
And that put additional pressure on households with necessities such as food, shelter and electricity now more expensive.
Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen said costs are rising across the board, and with 95 essences breaking the $3 psychological barrier, it would lead families to weigh their budgets more.
They would focus on funding the necessities of life, rather than “needs to have”, and that meant spending on non-essential car travel would be reduced or cut, he said.
“A lot of people will stay closer to home and there will be less travel as gasoline prices stay at these high levels.”
There was a risk that international fuel prices would rise further if the Russian-Ukrainian standoff escalated into war, he added.
“Although US shale suppliers tend to plug in at this price level because it becomes attractive for them to supply, and it helps keep prices from going much higher.”