Petrol Prices UK and Australia: An Update

Or how to save $91.80 per month on your petrol bill.

It was more than four years ago when I last compared petrol prices between England and Australia; in fact the post is so old I actually called it The Cost of Living in Australia because it was the very first in my category on that subject.

At the time I mentioned ‘cheap Wednesday’ which has since morphed into ‘cheap Tuesday’ and at some point may have even been ‘cheap Thursday’. At the time I compared prices of petrol here to a…

roller-coaster… yes, rollercoaster ride.

I also suggested that those who get caught out here and bought petrol at peak price simply because they needed it on the wrong day, were metaphorically holding both their hands up in the air as if being robbed.

Just like when on a rollercoaster…

hands-upWe no longer seem to have ‘cheap Wednesday’, ‘cheap Tuesday’ or ‘cheap Thursday’; it all seems to have been replaced with ‘cheap I don’t know what day it is’.

I was out on a Saturday a few weeks ago and I could have bought petrol at $1.36 per litre, but I thought I’d wait until later during the week as petrol is always at its dearest on the weekend.

Turned out it was $1.52 per litre by then, cheap Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday is no more but these ridiculous and unexplained rollercoaster petrol prices continue. It’s done deliberately to confuse us; it’s a game between us and the petrol giants.

What’s the current price of petrol in Australia?

petrol colesAs you can see, if you have your 8 cents off voucher from Coles, you can pick up E10 unleaded for $1-41.9 cents a litre. But we know those petrol discount vouchers are pointless as you can usually get petrol cheaper from an independent garage without any discount vouchers at all…

petrol freedomThe 4 cents per litre discount is automatically given to you provided you buy more than 40 litres of petrol. Here, as you can see, E10 unleaded is $1-39.9 cents a litre.

What’s the current price of petrol in the UK?

Turns out that just two days ago the AA (Automobile Association) said that petrol prices in the UK were continuing to fall and that the current price was the lowest it’s been for more than two and a half years. You can read more about that over at the BBC’s website.

  • The price? Around £1.30p per litre.

As I understand it, the UK has not yet introduced E10, but I think you do have E5 which is 5% ethanol rather than 10%. Most petrol stations here in Australia though offer both, and for an extra three or four cents you can buy unleaded petrol without the dreaded E10.

So our final price for comparison is:

  • UK = £1.30p per litre
  • Australia = $1.43 per litre

Current exchange rate is one GBP = 1.77 AUD. On that basis a litre of petrol in the UK would cost $2.30 AUD.

How has this changed since the last comparison?

Back in 2009 I didn’t actually quote exact prices of petrol from the UK, all I said was that “Our petrol is almost, but not quite, half the price of petrol in England.”

Being more specific now, back in 2009:

  • UK petrol price was £1.02p per litre
  • Australian petrol price was $1.16 per litre

Exchange rate at the time was one GBP = 2.0 AUD

Therefore, back then the UK price of petrol was equivalent to $2.04 per litre, 75.8% more expensive than here in Australia.

Today the UK price of petrol is equivalent to $2.30 per litre, which is 60.8% more expensive than here in Australia.

In the same period, UK petrol has risen by 27.4% and Australian petrol has risen by 23.2%.

My head hurts!

I’m not surprised.

Petrol has gone up slightly more in the UK over the last four and a bit years compared with Australia, yet the UK has closed the price difference slightly on petrol between our two countries.

Of course, the difference is in the exchange rate of GBP to AUD, which is why I now prefer to use the hard yakka.

Current Hard Yakka rates are:

  • Aussie yakka: One hour of hard yakka buys $35.74 of stuff.
  • The UK yakka: One hour of hard yakka buys £13.64 of stuff.

Therefore to fill your tank with petrol, let’s say 60 litres, would cost you…

  • 60 x $1.43 = $85.80 divided by $35.74 is 2.4 hard yakkas in Australia.
  • 60 x £1.30 = £78.00 divided by £13.64 is 5.7 hard yakkas in the UK.

Petrol, therefore, is still a good deal cheaper here in Australia than it is in the UK.

Ah, but!

Surely Australian drivers cover far more kilometres per year and therefore their petrol bill in total is still similar to those in the UK?

According to the Dept of Transport in the UK…

  • “Average annual car mileage was estimated to be 8,430 miles in 2010.” That’s 13,488 kilometres.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics

  • Motor vehicles registered in Australia travelled an average of 14,000 kilometres per vehicle in 2012.

Yes, surprised me too.

How much will you save?

Now I can put a figure on it. The average driver, based on petrol consumption of 10 litres per hundred kilometres (Litres/100 km) or 28 miles per gallon (mpg) as you say in the UK, will save $1101.58 per year here in Australia; that’s $91.80 per month.

So, how do you save $91.80 per month on your petrol bill? Move to Australia.

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