The first summer holiday out of lockdown could be ruined by high petrol prices.
In recent weeks the price of regular unleaded has climbed dramatically in the Hunter and at one point premium unleaded passed the $2 a litre mark in Maitland
A number of service stations across the city recorded tops of $179.9 for E10 fuel on Thursday morning. These included 7-Eleven outlets at East Maitland and Metford, United service stations in Maitland, East Maitland and Metford and Caltex Woolworths at Green Hills.
At the high end, that means filling a 60-litre tank would cost more than $100. On average the price of unleaded is around 175 cents a litre - and it is unclear when motorists can expect any relief. Fuel Check NSW shows prices at Cessnock significantly cheaper - in some cases up to 40 cents a litre.
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The NRMA says the fuel market is so volatile it is shying away from making any price predictions between now and Christmas.
"We're really not forecasting any lowering of prices for the foreseeable future," NRMA's John MacGowan said. "If anything there's a risk that they could keep going up."
While the price rise did coincide with areas of the state coming out of lockdown and being able to travel, Mr MacGowan said the high prices weren't the result of petrol company gouging. A large part of the reason for high prices is everyone is coming out of lockdown.
"The world is coming out of lockdown and, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom where things are getting back to normal, you're starting to see demand skyrocketing," he said. "There's huge demand from the Chinese agricultural market for oil and the situation with OPEC where they are just refusing to increase production."
That had led to Australian petrol companies having to pay unusually high prices to get fuel to our shores.
Mr MacGowan said prices could get worse if OPEC didn't increase production - with the coming European winter set to drive a vast demand for fuel, causing prices to rise further. He said now more than ever motorists should be using fuel price apps from the NRMA and the state government to ensure they're paying as little as possible to fill their tank.
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