Relief at pump: fuel prices expected to normalise

The extension to the fuel excise tax cut has helped keep prices low for consumers. Photo: Getty...
The extension to the fuel excise tax cut has helped keep prices low for consumers. Photo: Getty Images
The times of dramatic fuel price shifts are over, with warnings of soaring costs having fallen flat, an AA spokesman has said.

Late last year many countries put caps on the import price of Russian oil, which was said to coincide with the return of fuel excise tax and a big increase in Chinese demand.

The combination of factors was expected to rise the cost of fuel just after Christmas, but the increase never came.

AA motoring affairs principal policy adviser Terry Collins originally made the claim that fuel prices would likely rise, but yesterday said "nothing has really gone as expected".

The European Union, Australia and the Group of Seven, which includes Japan and the United States, did impose its price cap on Russian fuel in December, followed by the EU two weeks ago.

However, the international demand was so low that the drop in fuel on the market made little difference.

Chinese Covid-19 regulations were lifted, but it was not enough to create the usual heavy demand caused by the lunar new year celebrations.

Another initial concern was the cost of heating through winter in the northern hemisphere, he said.

But the harsh temperatures that were expected never came, easing how much heating was needed and decreasing how much fuel was needed.

Governments across the northern hemisphere had also subsidised a lot of fuel purchases, easing the market even more.

The stable price throughout it all was "very unexpected."

"This is coming down to a good old bit of supply and demand."

The extension to the fuel excise tax cut had also helped keep prices low for consumers, he said.

This time last year fuel was priced about $US110 a barrel, but now it was closer to $US80 ($NZ126).

The international fuel market was thrown into upheaval throughout the last few years with Covid-19, the invasion of Ukraine and other world events, which led to the dramatic shifts in price.

The stable price over the last few months despite all the movements was proof the market had adapted and things were normalising.

"The big swings have stopped."