Rising petrol prices have been causing pain at the pump as fuel hits a three year high - and the latest rise is unjustified, the Automobile Association says.

AA petrol price spokesman Mark Stockdale said yesterday national petrol prices had increased to $2.13 a litre for 91 octane, the highest since July 2015.

"Overall the increases we've seen over the past fortnight are a combination of rising international commodity prices and the drop in the New Zealand dollar.

"So that's a double whammy and we've seen it go up 10 cents."

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But Stockdale said there hadn't been an increase in commodity price, or a drop in the dollar prior to Tuesday - when fuel shot up another three cents.

"Much of the price rise that we've seen over the past fortnight is due to those two factors, the most recent one doesn't appear to be," Stockdale said.

"Commodity price only went up slightly, and in fact the dollar has gone up, not down in the last few days."

"Our question for fuel companies is why fuel went up three cents on Tuesday."

In statements to the NZ Herald both BP and Z Energy blamed the recent price increases on global commodity price and the exchange rate.

"The price of Brent crude oil - which is the New Zealand crude oil benchmark - on global markets is at a two-and-a-half year high," Z Energy Spokesperson Jonathon Hill said.

"That's precisely why New Zealand's fuel is as well - the two are absolutely linked."

It paid to shop around, however, with petrol prices varying greatly throughout the country.

Prices at petrol stations around the country vary hugely.
Prices at petrol stations around the country vary hugely.

Z stations in Whangamata and Miramar hit 212.9 cents a litre by 8am on Wednesday.

Kaitaia Mobil, Z and BP stations had all raised 91 to 209.9c by yesterday afternoon.

The South Island hasn't escaped the price hikes either, with Mobil Aranui selling 91 for 212.9 cents a litre yesterday.

Tauranga Gull on Hewletts Road offered one of the cheapest prices for 91 yesterday, at 182.7 cents - well under the national price.

Rotorua residents will be rubbing their hands together, as the majority of the town's petrol stations have kept the price of 91 at 193.9 cents a litre or less.

Owner of Mobil on Te Ngae Rd, Matt Ralm, said Rotorua had always been competitive with petrol prices and nothing had changed.

"With the New Zealand dollar dropping, prices have naturally gone up but the competitive nature to keep prices low remains.

"I always encourage people to shop around before filling up their cars."

He said Mobil Te Ngae had experienced a recent increase in out-of-towners stopping for petrol as they travelled through.

Stockdale said he believed the Commerce Commission should have the power to do a more detailed inquiry into petrol pricing.

"That's something the AA would support - and something for the new government to consider."