With Kiwi motorists already expressing outrage this week as petrol prices broke $3 a litre, the Automobile Association has given the ominous warning they will continue to balloon to $4.
Extreme market volatility pushed crude oil prices to nearly US$140 a barrel this week.
Motorists endured long queues of up to 1km yesterday - and run at least one petrol station dry - after a fuel company boss warned of imminent and massive price hikes.
Waitomo petrol stations around the country were busy yesterday after the warning issued by Waitomo group managing director Jimmy Ormsby.
Ormsby had advised motorists to fill up before 6pm yesterday, when the latest price rise would kick in. A spokesperson for Waitomo said prices would be increasing by close to 30 cents for diesel and 20 cents for petrol.
"Product prices from our suppliers have climbed very significantly for us overnight, so sadly that's going to be reflected in pump prices going forward, despite our best efforts to hold it off," the spokesperson said. "It really is unprecedented - we've never seen anything like it. The whole industry will be impacted with similar pricing."
AA policy advisor Terry Collins said Europe has relied on Russian energy, but can't anymore, and global sanctions are halting supply.
"There's a concern they can use it as an economic weapon by turning off the gas or coal or petrol supplies, so what Europe's now deciding is to wean itself off that reliance on Russian energy.
"In the short term, the US and other economies are putting sanctions on it, which means they can't sell the product anyway."
Even though New Zealand is not reliant on Russian oil, Collins said global shortages could push our pump prices to $4 a litre.
The economic impacts from rising petrol costs are much larger than most New Zealanders realise, he said.
Prices for petrochemical products are likely to rise quickly.
"So that's our tyres, our plastic ... our nylons, our synthetic ropes, our pharmaceuticals, our fertiliser that we use for foods.
"[There's] a whole range of products that petrochemicals are used for. The price of every one of those products is going to go up as well."
Fuel prices vary across the Waitomo network of 75 fuel stations, but the company was asking $2.86 at its Tinakori site in Wellington for 91 and $2.83 in Hamilton.
A Waitomo station in Papanui, Christchurch, ran out of 91, 95 and diesel following Ormsby's warning, while others were at risk of following suit. At one stage traffic was backed up for about a kilometre outside the station yesterday.
At other stations, there were dozens of cars queuing before the price hikes came into effect.
Motorists across New Zealand have expressed their disbelief at petrol prices on social media this week.
This morning one resident on Auckland's Mount Albert Community Facebook group joked: "installment options for Fuel coming soon" with a picture of 91 octane at $3.25 a litre.
Ormsby said on Friday morning: "Today, we've been advised by our supplier that prices are increasing, with the biggest single jump in our wholesale price seen in my time."
"Despite keeping our own costs as low as we can, so we can deliver the fairest pump prices while ensuring we remain sustainable ourselves, we can't absorb all that rise ourselves – so pump prices are going to have to respond.
"A jump of this level is going to hurt motorists and businesses big time, so as a Kiwi business, we're doing everything we can to minimise that pain, including forewarning our customers."
The Herald has approached other petrol companies to see if they will be doing the same.
Gull retail operations manager Mike Turner said they had no intention of increasing prices before the weekend, but said they would be reviewing numbers early next week.
Turner said that volatility was unprecedented in the market, but that it was important not to be too reactionary to the shifts in the global markets.
Asked whether BP was lifting prices, a spokesperson confirmed that the company reviews prices every day to ensure it remains competitive in the market.
Z Energy similarly did not confirm whether a price rise was on the way, with a spokesperson saying: "Z Energy reviews its pricing every day with the cost of fuel at the pump being made up of a number of factors, including global market fluctuations and local competitive pressures. Decisions regarding any appropriate changes (up or down) are based on those inputs. Z does not discuss nor disclose the timings of any such changes (up or down) as any future time-based reference could be considered price signalling."