Fuel prices in the Illawarra have skyrocketed by almost 20 cents a litre in the past week.
After a surprising Christmas period of relatively cheap petrol, motorists are now coughing up more cash to fill their tank.
The NRMA reports that the average price for unleaded in the Illawarra this week is 138.9 cents per litre.
Just last week it was 123 cents – a jump of 15 cents.
But some stations in the Illawarra on Wednesday were selling petrol as much as seven cents a litre above the average price.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the motoring organisation had been expecting prices to rise in January after oil-producing nations announced cuts to production in order to drive up the price.
However the sharpness of the rise caught the NRMA by surprise – as well as the fact it took place before the effects of the production cuts should have been felt.
“What should have happened is the price should have gone down a little bit before it went back up again,” Mr Khoury said.
“So the price has gone up quicker than we thought and it’s gone up higher than we thought.
“We’re talking a 15-cent jump in the past week and what it should have been was about six or eight cents.”
Mr Khoury said the sudden price hike was “alarming” and not related to the production cut because of the massive gap between the wholesale and retail petrol price.
The wholesale price of petrol on Wednesday was 121.5 cents, up just two cents since last week.
In that time, the retail price has jumped by around seven times that amount.
With a 17-cent a litre price range for unleaded petrol in the Illawarra, Mr Khoury said to paid to shop around – or use one of the apps that list real-time prices at the pumps.
“Don’t wait, because we don’t know when it’s going to drop,” he said.
“In occasions like this it’s important to shop around, particularly when we’re talking about the differences of about 10 to 15 cents a litre in places like Wollongong.
“It doesn’t make sense to fill up at the expensive stations.”
- Wednesday’s unleaded prices in the Illawarra
- Cheapest: 127.9 at Metro Fuels Bellambi and East Corrimal
- Most expensive: 144.9 at Coles Express, Wollongong