EARLIER this week, Australian fuel prices tipped over the $2/litre mark, sending frustrated families into disarray and dividing the coalition government.
As the federal election looms and service station queues lengthen, a question remains: when will the rising cost of living be addressed?
The global oil price has increased by 64 percent since January 1, however just under 30 percent of that increase has occurred in the last two weeks.
Despite the average increase in fuel price normally sitting at 7 cents a litre for petrol, last week it increased to 19 cents per litre.
ACPMA chief Mark Mckenzie said the rising fuel prices were a direct result of Russia's war on Ukraine, and would have a big impact on regional communities.
"The world market is dealing with the uncertainty of whether they will fully ban Russian oil supplies," he said.
Mr Mckenzie said Russian oil counts for approximately 10 percent of the global oil supply.
"While Australia doesn't purchase oil directly from Russia, many European countries and the US do, so if you work in a scenario where you remove 10 percent of the market it puts increasing pressure everywhere else."
There has been a building momentum for fuel excise relief from inside the coalition government.
Put simply, the fuel excise is a 44 cent tax placed on every litre of petrol sold in the country.
$20 billion of the federal government's annual revenue comes from the fuel excise, and that money is then reinvested back into roads infrastructure spending.
Mark Mckenzie said cutting the fuel excise would only be a "sweetener" on the issue, which could see the old prices return in a matter of days.
"Cutting the excise - even in half - doesn't actually solve the problem," he said, "if we'd done that last week, then we would be in this exact same position this week, given that prices are rising by more than 20 cents/litre per week."
Federal Labor member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said it was important to remember the history of the fuel excise.
The Howard government froze the fuel tax in 2001, however the decision was reversed by the Abbott government in 2014.
"Everyone had voted against that reversal, however it was too late as the government had already ordered the fuel companies to start collecting the excise," she said.
"So as a solution, they put the money into the Roads to Recovery program."
Ms Chesters said the coalition was attempting to frame the issue as a road safety versus fuel price issue.
"Well, no, regional roads are a government priority," she said, "and they need to find the money from the budget to do it, regardless of the excise question."
Federal Nationals member for Mallee Anne Webster said the government could not afford to cut the excise and pay for the Road to Recovery program, despite putting the excise question to treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week.
"It's a convenient Labor line to have no budgetary constraints whatsoever," she said, "we've just gone through the pandemic which has had a severe impact on our budget. But we cannot blow out our debt level, so we need to conserve the budget, it's not unworkable and we can do it."
Ms Webster backed up Prime Minister Scott Morrisons earlier comments this week, arguing the excise would not solve the rising fuel price issue.
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"There is actually a global supply chain issue going on," she said, "but we have committed to release oil stocks to stabilise the global energy market, and we're discussing how much and when."
"Ultimately, reducing the exercise is just a small drop in the bucket to a much larger question."
Two weeks out from the 2022-2023 budget with a federal election looming, fuel prices have brought the cost of living question to the forefront of voters' minds.
APCO Kangaroo Flat - one of Bendigo's busiest service stations - ran out of diesel and Unleaded 95 on Tuesday.
The owners believed panic buying was to blame, as long queues saw people waiting over half an hour to fill up both jerry cans and vehicles.
Bendigo resident and mother of 3 Candice said the rising prices could mean she couldn't afford to go to work.
"I'm really struggling, what I put in for a week doesn't go as far," she said.
"Everything is going up but your pay doesn't go up."
"So, you're really struggling with the petrol - and that's after all the food went up and trying to support three kids at the same time is just really hard.
"I'm worried if it keeps going up I won't be able to get the kids to school, or even get myself to work next week."
Another resident filled up his car and several jerry cans, while being extra careful about the price.
"I can't take my eyes off the screen," he said, "but who knows when it'll be this price again."
"We live in the country so we come into town to fill everything up."
"Unfortunately, fuel is a necessary evil for the moment, but it's just an added cost now."
While the federal government has said they won't reveal any budgetary plans before the budget at the end of March, the pressure is certainly mounting to address fuel and living costs.
The ACPMA says petrol prices will likely remain unpredictable, as countries grapple with the ongoing uncertainty in Ukraine.
In the central Victorian region, residents' concerns over livelihoods are growing, and Mr Mckenzie said regional communities could feel it worse than others.
"Regional communities rely on goods and services to be freighted in from capital cities and eastern ports," he said.
"So transport costs will go up, and that will probably see the cost of goods go up too."
To find the cheapest fuel near you you can use fuel apps or websites such as petrol spy.
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