Petrol prices have surged to their highest levels - at $2.30 a litre for 91 octane fuel at some stations.

The previous high was $2.27 in the middle of 2013.

And new high price is before a regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre kicks in for Auckland motorists from July 1.

However a petrol retailer insists little more can be done to make petrol cheaper at the pump for motorists.


Z Energy spokeswoman Sheena Thomas told Newstalk ZB the price rise is justified and largely driven by a rise in prices on the international market.

She said international increases get passed on to customers.

Z's profit margin was around 5 cents a litre, after it pays expenses such as wages and electricity.

Thomas said not much can be done to decrease the price at the pump without international prices easing.

Oil prices spiked to their highest level since 2014 last week as US President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and threatened to impose new trade sanctions.

That's a 25 per cent rise since its most recent low in February and a rise of about 90 per cent since the price hit rock bottom in January 2016.

Oil prices crashed in 2014, plunging from $144 a barrel to a low of just above $57.

Before the GFC they had traded as high as $193 per barrel.

The steady increase from record lows has strongly suggested that petrol price increases were always on the cards.

Filling up the tank is set to weigh more heavily on Kiwi bank accounts in coming months. Photo/123RF.
Filling up the tank is set to weigh more heavily on Kiwi bank accounts in coming months. Photo/123RF.

Given this context, Herald business editor at large Liam Dann last week suggested that paying $3 was no longer far-fetched.

Brace yourself for petrol at $3 a litre

Road Transport Forum NZ chief executive Ken Shirley added further weight to this prediction by suggesting to TVNZ 1 News this morning that this could become a reality within the next six months.

"I hate to be a merchant of doom but it's not inconceivable it could go to sort of $3 a litre," Shirley said.

Nationwide increases

Data from fuel comparison site Pricewatch shows the fuel price increases have hit every region across the country.

A comparison of the figures posted on the site on 30 April to those visible today shows uniform increase - albeit with regional variations - in the lowest recorded price of 91 across the country.

According to Pricewatch, consumers in the Nelson/Tasman region face paying the most in the country for the cheapest fuel option.

The cheapest 91 option available is in Auckland.