Retail Fuel Market

Unleaded petrol | Diesel | Brent Crude Oil | Explanatory notes

Retail fuel prices are based on data reported by the Australian Institute of Petroleum. For the latest available data and analysis, see the Department of Treasury and Finance’s Fuel prices economic brief or go to Australian Institute of Petroleum website for the data.

Unleaded petrol

In four weeks to 30 September 2018, the monthly average unleaded petrol (ULP) price in NT was 163.6 cents per litre (cpl). This was an increase of 32.2 cpl in annual terms. This large increase in ULP prices over the year has been reflected at a national level, with ULP increasing by 27.1 cpl to an average of 153.3 cpl. The price differential between the NT average and the national average was 10.3 cpl (Chart 1).

The monthly average terminal gate price (TGP) for ULP in Darwin was 145.9 cpl, an increase of 5.5 cpl compared to the previous month and 25.7 cpl higher than the same time in the previous year. Nationally, the TGP was 141.2 cpl in the month, a 5.4 cpl increase compared to the previous month.

Darwin recorded as the second lowest gross indicative retail difference (GIRD) in all capital cities. The GIRD for ULP was 9.5 cpl in September 2018, a decrease of 5.2 cpl compared to the previous month but a 1.4. cpl increase compared to September 2017. Melbourne recorded the highest GIRD of the capital cities in the month, which ranged from 7.9 cpl in Perth to 13.8 cpl in Melbourne.


The retail price for diesel in the NT has increased 1.8 cpl to an average of 167.6 cpl in September 2018, and increased by 36.6 cpl compared to the same time last year. This was 11.0 cpl higher than the national average of 156.6 cpl (Chart 2).

The TGP in Darwin for diesel increased by 6.2 cpl in the month, and increased by 31.6 cpl through the year to 149.1 cpl. These movements are in line with national movements with national TGP increasing by 6.2 cpl in the month and 31.4 cpl higher through the year.

The GIRD for diesel in Darwin was 7.2 cpl, which was a decrease of 5.0 cpl in the month, and a decrease of 4.9 cpl through the year. Darwin’s diesel GIRD was 4.1 cpl lower than the national GIRD of 11.3 cpl in the month.

Brent crude oil

In September 2018, the monthly average prices for Brent crude oil was $78.65 per barrel in United States dollar terms. This reflects an increase of 8.3% in the month, and represents an increase of 39.7% through the year (Chart 3).

In Australian dollar terms, the monthly average Brent crude oil was $109.19 per barrel. This was an increase of 10.1% compared to the previous month, and an increase of 54.6% compared to September 2017. The higher increase in Brent crude oil prices in Australian dollar terms is mainly a result of depreciation of the Australian dollar against the United States dollar.

The Territory Government continues to implement a number of measures to improve fuel price transparency for Territory motorists and place downward pressure on fuel prices. These measures form part of the Territory Government’s continuing response to recommendations made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its 2015 Report on the Darwin Petrol Market and initiatives developed by other jurisdictions.

As a result, DTF has enhanced reporting and analysis of fuel prices across the NT by including analysis of diesel fuel, wholesale price margins and capital cities fuel price comparisons.

A key measure was the introduction of MyFuel NT, which allows consumers to easily compare fuel prices and to shop around for the lowest local prices, which was launched in November 2017. Go to MyFuel NT, the online portal to access the most up to date prices on fuel. The  ACCC also monitors Darwin fuel prices in its Quarterly Report on the Australian Petroleum Market, which can be found under publications section of the ACCC website.

The practice of displaying discounted fuel prices on fuel display boards has been discontinued to provide customers with a real time retail prices, and to ensure that the price advertised on display boards matches the undiscounted price of fuel at the register and the bowser.

Explanatory notes

The majority of automotive fuel in the NT is sourced from overseas through the fuel import terminal and wholesale storage facility located at East Arm, near Darwin. The remaining supply of fuel is sourced from interstate fuel import and refinery terminals.

Factors contributing to the retail price of fuel in the NT  are:

DTF monitors retail fuel prices in the NT on an aggregate monthly average basis. However, daily fuel prices can be found on Myfuel NT.

TGPs are used as a benchmark to monitor wholesale prices. TGPs are spot prices at which fuel can be purchased from a refinery or terminal and incorporate the price of crude oil, refining costs, transportation costs, wholesale margins and the Commonwealth’s fuel excise and GST. GIRDs are the difference between the average retail price and TGP, which provides an indication of gross retail margins across the market.