(Bloomberg) -- Australian motorists are being advised to boycott “price-gauging” gasoline retailers as fuel prices surge across major cities ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Unleaded gasoline, or petrol as it’s known in Australia, reached A$1.71 a liter ($4.46 a gallon) Thursday in Brisbane, a record for the Queensland state capital, and A$1.73 a liter Friday on the Gold Coast, according to the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, known as RACQ. In Melbourne, prices topped A$1.75 a liter Saturday, a 2019 high, Victoria state’s car club said.

Wholesale fuel prices have increased because of rising oil charges and the higher cost of refined petroleum products from Singapore, said Lauren Ritchie, an RACQ spokeswoman, in a phone interview Sunday. Some Brisbane gas stations added as much as 34 Australian cents a liter to retail prices last week and should be “boycotted,” she said.

“Any retailer charging over A$1.71 in Brisbane would be taking hefty retail margins,” Ritchie said. “That wouldn’t be fair, it would be price-gauging. Do not fill up there.”

Following lobbying by the motoring group, the Queensland government instigated a requirement a year ago for all gas stations to publicly release fuel prices to create greater transparency for drivers. The program has led to a 2.3-cents-a-liter reduction in gasoline prices in Brisbane, and has saved the state’s motorists A$122.8 million, RACQ estimates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Gale in Melbourne at j.gale@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stanley James at sjames8@bloomberg.net, Siraj Datoo, Linus Chua

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