Mike Stevens | Mar 11, 2010

PETROL PRICES ARE on the rise once more, as a fading price war sees the national average cost of petrol rise in the first week of March by 3.7 cents. The price rise is the first major jump in three weeks.

New figures released this week by the Australian Institute of Petroleum reveal a jump in the price of petrol around the nation, with the exception of the Northern Territory.

CommSec's Savanth Sebastian said that the heavy discounting seen last month was an "unsustainable scenario," pointing to oil company profit margin pressures to explain the sudden price rise.

"After selling petrol for what was virtually below cost, petrol stations are once again increasing margins in an attempt to remain profitable," Mr Sebastian said.

South Australian motorists have copped the brunt of the rise so far, paying $1.26 per lite - 5.6 cents more than last month.

Victoria did not fare much better, the price of petrol rising 5.4 cents a litre. Sydney saw a rise of 4.8 cents, with Brisbane following closely at 4.5 cents.

Perth and Hobart seem to have fared better, Perth petrol prices rising by 1.6 cents to 124.4 cents a litre and Hobart's just 0.1 cents to 141.7 cents a litre.

"Going forward, the Reserve Bank is likely to pay closer attention to petrol prices given the recovery in the global economy," Mr Sebastian said.

"A sustained run up in fuel prices can have a detrimental effect on consumer confidence and in turn spending patterns."

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