Fuel to top $1.50 after NYE

TWEED residents will face petrol prices hikes as soon as next week with increases of three to five cents a litre predicted at the pump.

Neumann Petroleum Murwillumbah operator Harry Saad said customers would have no choice but to wear the increases.

“We are in a country area with little public transport so people have no choice but to drive their car,” Mr Saad said.

Mr Saad said a number of regular customers had told him they would not take a driving holiday this year because they could not afford it.

“It’s not just fuel because everything is more expensive but higher fuel prices don’t help and families just can’t afford to spend the extra money,” he said.

As Asian crude oil prices hit a 14-month high this week, Australian motorists will see an increase at the pump in the coming weeks, Commsec economist Craig James said.

“Holidaymakers that set off on driving holidays ahead of Christmas may find their return journeys will be a tad more expensive,” Mr James said.

“But the good news for motorists is that the Aussie dollar has risen sharply over the past 14 months.

“(Otherwise) motorists would now be paying on average around $1.50 a litre rather than $1.20 a litre.”

The record crude oil prices are likely to add an extra three to five cents per litre to current petrol prices, Mr James estimated.

Mr Saad said although petrol prices were high at the moment it was only a couple of years ago he saw customers paying up to $1.70 a litre at his petrol station.

“I’ve been in the business long enough to remember when it was 27 cents a litre but we have no choice but to go off the barrel prices,” Mr Saad said.

An NRMA spokesperson said the long-term forecast was petrol prices would continue to rise.

“Prices in 2009 were relatively low compared to the two years before because of a strong Australian dollar and falling demand in other big economies,” they said.

“At the moment Australia has no control over petrol prices but the only solution is to get serious about alternative fuels to reduce our dependence on oil.”

The wholesale petrol price averaged 113.1 cents a litre in the week ending Christmas Day, but it has been rising steadily over the past week.

On Tuesday, the wholesale price stood at a 15-week high of 114.5 cents a litre.

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