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Australia has cheap fuel – Shell


Melbourne Herald Sun

Australia has cheap fuel – Shell

By Stephen Johnson

May 23, 2008 04:02pm

DESPITE the grumblings of motorists, oil giant Shell says Australia has some of the world’s cheapest fuel.

And the nation’s peak consumer group, Choice, agrees – even as prices at the bowser jumped beyond $1.60 a litre this week.

Shell Australia’s website says motorists are paying some of the world’s lowest petrol prices as service stations reduce their retail margins to less than four cents a litre on discount days.

”… companies selling fuel at a very low margin are the reason Australia has among the cheapest petrol in the world, both before and after tax,” Shell said.

The oil giant says Australians have the world’s fourth cheap fuel prices, behind Mexico, United States and Canada.

The data, which dates back to March 2006, lists average Australian fuel prices at $1.30 a litre. 
Prices since then have jumped by more than 23 per cent to a record $1.60 a litre.

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said relatively low fuel excise by world standards was the reason Australians paid less for petrol than most other Western countries.

“Although people hate to hear it, by international comparisons it’s cheap and the rate of excise is lower than European countries,” Mr Zinn said.

Even if Australian fuel is cheap on a global level, consumers are advised to brace for dearer pump prices.

“The only question is not how high it goes, but how long it takes to get there and how steep the rises are,” Mr Zinn said.

“Anyone who is buying a car, you’d think fuel economy will become a big factor.”

Crude oil prices jumped to a record $US135 a barrel this week, and Sydney and Adelaide motorists are paying an average of $1.58 a litre today, a slight reprieve from mid week prices above $1.60.

Drivers in Perth, Hobart and Brisbane were paying a little less than $1.50 a litre.

Shell’s website said petrol prices grew at a slower pace than inflation, electricity and vegetable prices in the 26 years to 2006.

More recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics says petrol prices surged by 19 per cent in the 12 months to March 2008.,21985,23746288-5005961,00.html and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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