A close-up of a man's arm refuelling a white ute at a petrol bowser.

Northern Territory opposition calls for petroleum price inquiry, with prices per liter 30 cents higher than in other states

Pressure is growing on the Northern Territory government to take action on stubbornly high fuel prices, with calls for a fresh inquiry to quiz retailers on the reasons behind the rates.

Drivers in Darwin were paying around $1.95 a liter for petrol on Tuesday, despite the wholesale price sitting close to the average of interstate capitals of $1.59.

The average price per liter in New South Wales was $1.67, almost 30 cents a liter cheaper than the Northern Territory.

Opposition leader Lia Finocchiaro has called for a new parliamentary inquiry, which she said could potentially recommend a cap on profits or prices.

“Territories are paying [up to] 40 cents a liter more for their fuel compared to any other jurisdictions in the nation,” Ms Finocchiaro said.

“The power of an inquiry means that we can call fuel retailers and fuel companies to sit at the table and they have to explain to the public and the parliament why it is that territories are paying so much.”

Opposition leader Lia Finocchiaro (left) says retailers should explain their prices to parliament.(ABC News: Matt Garrick)

Petrol prices this year rose higher in the Northern Territory than in any other jurisdiction, according to the latest official data.

“Automotive fuel” was up by 6.2 per cent, well above the capital city average of 4.2 per cent.

The Northern Territory opposition is also proposing legislation that would force retailers to publish their profit margins.

In a statement, Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said the government “stood ready to take further action” if apparent profit margins remained high “without a reasonable explanation”.

Ms Fyles said she had written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and to fuel companies on the issue but did not say what she had told, or asked, them.

‘There would be higher’ at similar prices in Sydney or Melbourne