By Ash Bolt
Bellarine Peninsula motorists are spending more on petrol each week than residents of most of the country’s major population centres.
Australia’s peak motoring body the Australian Automobile Association has released its latest Transport Affordability Index that showed the average weekly fuel cost grew by 38 per cent between March 2021 and March 2022.
The data showed Greater Geelong motorists paid an average of $110.69 in fuel costs per week over the first three months of 2022.
That figure was a significant increase over the $80.03 average weekly fuel costs in the same period.
It was also the second highest average weekly cost across any of the larger population centres across the country tracked by the AAA report.
Only Bunbury, in south-west Western Australia, was higher – at $116.31 per week – while Melbourne was almost $20 per week cheaper at $92.07.
AAA managing director Michael Bradley said the data reflected the global price shocks flowing from the war in Ukraine.
“Rising fuel prices continue to be a significant contributor to cost of living pressures across both regional and metropolitan Australia,” he said.
In late March the federal government announced it would halve the fuel excise – from 44.2 cents per litre to 22.1 – to combat rising fuel costs, which had seen fuel prices rise over $2 per litre.
While the announcement led to an initial drop in petrol prices, the Australian Institute of Petroleum’s latest weekly petrol prices report showed fuel costs were again beginning to rise.
Last week prices rose for the third week in a row, at an average of 1.4 cents per litre across the country, to reach an average cost 179.6 cents per litre.
That rise was sharper in Geelong, where unleaded petrol rose by 4.7 cents to per litre to reach an average of 175.1 cents per litre.
The AAA data also showed Geelong was the third most expensive regional centre for transport.
Taking into account the average car loan repayments, fuel costs, registration, servicing and tyres, insurance, tolls, public transport and roadside assistance, the index found transport cost Geelong residents an average of $347.70 per week between January and March.
The figure was lower than all capital cities, as well as Bunbury and Alice Springs.
It was also a $9.58 decrease on the previous quarter, largely due to a decrease in the average car loan repayment.
The data showed fuel costs made up almost 32 per cent of Geelong households’ weekly transport costs, while car repayments were 43 per cent.