Retail Fuel Market


The cost of fuel affects almost every household and business in the Northern Territory (NT) in the way that they budget and spend. In this section, analysis is provided on the Northern Territory's monthly average petrol prices, including unleaded petrol  and diesel retail prices, terminal gate prices, gross indicative retail differences and brent crude oil prices.

Infographic showing NT average ULP Infographic showing Darwin ULP Infographic showing NT average Diesel Infographic Darwin average diesel


Unleaded petrol | Diesel | Brent Crude Oil | MyFuel NT | Explanatory notes

Unleaded petrol

In the four weeks ending 2 December 2018, the monthly average unleaded petrol (ULP) price in NT was 164.5 cents per litre (cpl). This represents a monthly decrease of 5.9 cpl, however an increase of 12.7 cpl in annual terms. The average ULP price in Australia decreased by 17.3 cpl over the same period to a monthly average of 141.1 cpl, narrowing the annual increase to 3.7 cpl. This resulted in a price differential between the NT average and the national average of 23.4 cpl (Chart 1).

The monthly average terminal gate price (TGP) for ULP in Darwin was 130.4 cpl, a decrease of 16.7 cpl compared to the previous month, however a 2.6 cpl increase compared to the previous year. This is consistent with the movement in Australian average TGP, which has fallen 16.6 cpl over the same period to a monthly average of 125.9 cpl. This represents  an increase of 2.1 cpl compared to the previous year.

The monthly average gross indicative retail difference (GIRD) for ULP in Darwin was 24.2 cpl in November 2018, which was an increase of 9.0 cpl compared to the previous month, and a 7.7. cpl increase compared to November 2017. This is the second highest GIRD of all the capital cities, with Hobart recording the highest GIRD of 31.2 cpl. The national average GIRD decreased by 0.7 cpl from 15.9 cpl to 15.2 cpl in the same period.

Diesel

The monthly average price for diesel in the NT was 174.8 cpl in the four weeks ending 2 December 2018. This represents a monthly decrease of 3.3 cpl, however an increase of 22.9 cpl compared to the previous last year. Nationally, diesel prices decreased by 4.1 cpl in the same period to a monthly average of 160.3 cpl. This resulted in a price differential between the NT average and the national average of 14.5 cpl (Chart 2).

The TGP for diesel in Darwin was 143.0 cpl, a decrease of 12.1 cpl in the month, which narrowed the annual increase to 17.3 cpl. This is consistent with the movement in Australian average TGP, which also decreased by 12.1 cpl to a monthly average of 139.2 cpl.

The monthly average GIRD for diesel in Darwin was 19.2 cpl, which was an increase of 5.6 cpl in the month, and an increase of 4.7 cpl through the year. Darwin’s diesel GIRD was 1.9 cpl lower than the national GIRD of 21.1 cpl in the month.

Brent crude oil

In November 2018, the monthly average prices for Brent crude oil was $64.4 per barrel in United States dollar terms. This reflects a decrease of 18.5% in the month, however an increase of 2.1% through the year (Chart 3).

In Australian dollar terms, the monthly average Brent crude oil was $88.8 per barrel. This was a decrease of 20.1% compared to the previous month, however an increase of 7.2% compared to November 2017. The decrease increase in Brent crude oil prices in Australian dollar terms is mainly a result of appreciation of the Australian dollar against the United States dollar.

MyFuel NT

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

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.

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.