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 Diesel Infographic Darwin average diesel


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

Unleaded petrol

In the four weeks to 3 March 2019, the monthly average unleaded petrol (ULP) price in NT was 142.2 cents per litre (cpl). This was a monthly decrease of 0.9 cpl, and a decrease of 14.0 cpl in annual terms. The average ULP price in Australia increased by 3.7 cpl over the month to an average of 131.2 cpl, however it decreased by 6.2 cpl in annual terms. This resulted in a price differential between the NT average and the national average of 11.0 cpl (Chart 1).

The monthly average ULP price in Darwin decreased by 0.7 cpl in the four weeks to 3 March 2019, to 128.1 cpl. This was the lowest monthly average ULP price of all capital cities and a decline of 21.2 cpl compared to the same time the previous year.

The monthly average terminal gate price (TGP) for ULP in Darwin was 123.6 cpl, an increase of 3.5cpl compared to the previous month, however a 4.1 cpl decrease compared to the previous year. This is consistent with the movement in Australian average TGP, which has increased 3.4 cpl over the month to an average of 119.7 cpl. This was a decrease of 3.6 cpl compared to the previous year.

The monthly average gross indicative retail difference (GIRD) for ULP in Darwin was 4.5 cpl in February 2019, which was a decrease of 4.2 cpl compared to the previous month, and a 17.1 cpl decrease compared to February 2018. This was the lowest GIRD of all the capital cities, with Hobart recording the highest GIRD of 15.4 cpl. The national average GIRD decreased by 2.7 cpl from 14.1 cpl to 11.5 cpl in annual terms.

Diesel

The monthly average price for diesel in the NT was 158.4 cpl in the four weeks to 3 March 2018. This was a monthly increase of 0.3 cpl, and an increase of 0.2 cpl compared to the previous last year. Nationally, diesel prices increased by 2.5 cpl in the month to an average of 144.3 cpl. This resulted in a price differential between the NT average and the national average of 14.0 cpl (Chart 2).

The TGP for diesel in Darwin was 135.7 cpl, an increase of 5.2 cpl in the month, and an annual increase of 7.7 cpl. This is consistent with the movement in Australian average TGP, which creased by 5.0 cpl in the month to an average of 132.3 cpl.

The monthly average GIRD for diesel in Darwin was 5.2 cpl, which was a decrease of 3.6 cpl in the month, and 14.9 cpl through the year. Darwin’s diesel GIRD was 6.8 cpl lower than the national GIRD of 12.0 cpl in the month.

Brent crude oil

In February 2019, the monthly average prices for Brent crude oil was $63.9 per barrel in United States dollar terms. This reflects an increase of 6.0% in the month, however a decrease of 1.6% through the year (Chart 3).

In Australian dollar terms, the monthly average Brent crude oil was $89.6 per barrel. This was an increase of 6.6% compared to the previous month, and an increase of 8.3% compared to February 2018. The 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.

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.