Fuel prices have surged to a record high in Perth, with unleaded prices averaging 208.9 cents per litre yesterday and have jumped to an average of 212.4 cents today, representing a 28 per cent rise in prices from this time last month.
The dramatic surge in prices is due in part to the conflict in Ukraine, where projected sanctions on Russian oil and gas have put significant pressure on the global market, causing fuel prices to rise across the globe.
The price surge has affected consumers and businesses alike, with the transport industry amongst the hardest hit.
Business and industry leaders say the dramatic surge will adversely affect distribution and transport networks, causing strife to consumers.
WA state secretary for the Transport Workers’ Union Tim Dawson says rising prices represent a significant threat to the health of transport and distribution businesses.
“Any transport industry business works on a very small margin, so any increase in fuel will seriously affect the profit lines of transport companies, large or small,” Mr Dawson says.
These small margins have now decreased even further, and it could cause significant issues for businesses and workers within the transport industry.
“The last thing we want is companies to cut corners, to reduce wages or conditions for them. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
The transport industry is essential to a wide range of industries and businesses across the state, and industry leaders say this price increase will impact the consumer directly.
Western Australian Independent Grocers Association president John Cummings says the transport industry is central to all goods bought by consumers.
“The reality is that everything we sell, everything sold in the supermarket has spent some time on a truck,” he says.
Mr Cummings says this recent rise in fuel prices only adds to the continuing pressure on the consumer market.
He says rising production costs and stagnating wage growth as well as these latest increases in transport costs have put more pressure on consumers’ wallets.
“If there’s any pressure on price on the horizon, it’s upwards,” he says. “There is no pressure on price in the future that is going downward.”
Tim Dawson echoes this concern.
“There’s no doubt there’s going to be price increases because of this.”
Mr Dawson says workers need to be protected in times like this, both by businesses and by the government.
It is expected fuel costs will continue to be elevated for at least the next few months.