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Oil price rise is the 'tax hike' consumers didn't need

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Higher petrol costs are back on the agenda, thanks to recent gyrations in global oil prices caused by an attack on Saudi Arabia's production infrastructure.

Granted, the price rises so far are hardly catastrophic, as the national average petrol price only rose to a near four-month high of $1.44.2 a litre last week.

Rising petrol prices act like a tax on spending.Credit:Ryan Stuart

Even so, broker Commsec expects bowser costs will climb higher still, and the recent tensions in the Middle East have underlined the risk of future price shocks.

However, how much do higher petrol costs actually matter for the entire economy? And don't we need a bit of inflation, anyway?

There are few price movements that attract quite as much attention as those involving petrol. That's because petrol consumption is something that's hard for many people to reduce, and it's a regular expense where changes in price........

© Brisbane Times