NZ fuel prices jump 26c/l as 91 reaches record high in Australia

  • 28/04/2024

Unleaded 91 petrol prices in Australia's major capital cities have reached record highs this week, while our own have jumped 26c/l over the year so far.

But a leading economist says New Zealand prices are "still a way from their highest point".

Across the ditch, the one-day average for unleaded 91 hit AU$2.17 per litre on Friday, according to data from UK comparison site Compare The Market.

However the average prices in Melbourne ($2.25), Brisbane ($2.30) and Adelaide ($2.25) were well above that.

The last record high for Australian fuel prices came in September last year, according to

In Australia, rising wholesale costs, high crude oil prices, and a weak Aussie dollar are being blamed for the record highs.

Over here in New Zealand, Infometrics principal economist Brad Olsen said fuel prices have been rising in 2024, "with prices at the pump up 26c/l over the year so far".

MBIE's weekly monitoring showed in the week ending April 19, our domestic discounted fuel prices were $2.89 per litre, Olsen told Newshub.

However he said New Zealand prices are still away from their highest point of $3.16/l in July 2022.

"Although fuel prices have been rising in New Zealand recently, they haven't leapt up nearly as much as in Aus!" he said.

Olsen said crude oil prices have been higher in recent weeks, including Dubai Crude, which is the main unrefined oil New Zealand imports from.

Dubai Crude has been sitting at about US$90 a barrel during April, after rising about 14 percent since the start of the year, he added.

"Back when NZ fuel prices were at their highest, crude oil prices were above $110 per barrel."

Olsen told Newshub oil prices are a reflection of geopolitical tensions and relatively flat global economic growth.

"War in the Middle East and in Ukraine has raised concerns about fuel supplies, which has pushed prices higher," he said.

Another major reason for higher petrol prices is a strong US dollar, which has been bolstered by strong economic data in the last couple of weeks, Olsen said.

That makes it "more expensive to buy fuel on the international market for the likes of Australia and New Zealand."

But the higher geopolitical risks are balanced with subdued global economic growth expectations, he explained, as persistently high interest rates limit stronger economic growth in 2024.