PETROL prices are likely to ease in the coming week due to the rise in the Australian dollar, an economist says.
The average Australian price of unleaded petrol fell 0.5 of a cent to 143.5 cents a litre in the week ending January 29, data from the Australian Institute of Petroleum shows.
The national weekly average metropolitan price dropped 1.1 cents to 142.4 cents a litre, while the regional average price rose 1.0 cent to 145.9 cents a litre.
"Given that fuel prices peaked just over a week ago it is likely that pump prices will continue to ease over the coming week," Commsec economist Savanth Sebastian said in a statement today.
Mr Sebastian said the recent rise in the Australian dollar has been a "boon" for motorists in keeping a lid on recent rises on petrol costs from higher oil prices.
The local currency has appreciated around seven US cents during the past six weeks.
"Since the Aussie bottomed out six weeks ago, it has risen by over seven per cent ensuring that motorists are saving between 8-10 cents a litre," he said.
Local motorists have been one of the few groups in Australia to gain from the dollar's rise, which has hit industries such as manufacturing, tourism and education.
Darwin had the dearest unleaded petrol, with the price rising 0.1 of a cent to 154.4 cents a litre, while Melbourne had the cheapest, down 3.1 cents to 139.6 cents a litre.
The average price of petrol rose in all capital cities bar Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.