It is unclear when the pain motorists have increasingly been feeling at the bowser in recent weeks will ease, the NRMA says.
The road user advocacy group said the price of regular unleaded petrol had jumped by more than 37c/l in Newcastle in the past four weeks, with similar increases recorded across the broader Hunter region.
The average ULP price in Newcastle on Tuesday was 204.6c/l, but there was a spread of more than 40c/l in price differences across the city - 175.7c/l being the cheapest and 216.8c/l the most expensive.
In Lake Macquarie, the average was 204.4 but there was a 30c/l gap between the cheapest regular unleaded fuel (185.9c/l) and the most expensive (215.9c/l).
There was a slightly higher average price in Maitland (205.1c/l), but it too had a large spread between a low of 188.8c/l and high of 215.9c/l.
The Upper Hunter had the region's lowest average ULP price at 199.3c/l.
NRMA spokesperson Katrina Usman told the Newcastle Herald that the increases had been in line with global oil prices - influenced by factors such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, COVID-19 lockdowns in China and a strong US dollar.
Ms Usman said petrol prices were "increasingly volatile" in NSW.
She said price gaps such as that seen in Newcastle on Tuesday came down to local competition and the decisions of individual service station operators - and it showed the importance of motorists shopping around.
"Last week we saw the per-barrel price of oil rise $10 following an oil refinery fire, while this morning [Tuesday] we've seen the oil prices fall $7 a barrel," she said.
"While we're hopeful the trend does go down, at the moment, prices are still quite high. It's so volatile at the moment - we can't see the future.
"We're hopeful prices will go down. Across NSW it's a [case of] wait and see at the moment."
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