22 Dec 2023

Tips to keep petrol costs down this festive season

From Checkpoint, 5:10 pm on 22 December 2023

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

It's a busy time on our roads and at petrol stations.

AA Fuel spokesperson Terry Collins told Checkpoint petrol stations hiking prices in the holidays was a "myth".

Unlike self-service stations, those that had full-service models had overheads of bathrooms and magazine racks, and that's why prices varied.

"Last Christmas we had our 25 cents reduction, which with GST came to nearly $0.29 off our fuel. That was the measure that the government put in for the cost-of-living crisis to reduce the fuel excise duty and the price of petrol.

"In July that came back on. But if we look at what was the price last year add that fuel duty bill, it's within about $0.03. So within background noise of the costing."

Without the discount, New Zealanders would be paying the same price at the pump last year, as this year.

He said there was worry that prices would go up to $3 a litre, but "fortunately, at the end of September, lack of international demand and other factors came to play and the price has been dropping every week since about the second week in September and long may that continue".

Using apps like Gaspy was one way to keep costs down, Collins said.

"But if you go to the cheapest place in your region on a regular basis, that's the best way. Often those savings will be better than any discount scheme."

Another tip he shared was accumulating the discounts and not long before "you've got $1 a litre saving for 50 litres, and because I can accumulate all my scheme for about two months, I'm hoping when I go to redeem it, I will be paying something like $0.40 or $0.50 a litre for my petrol, for 50 litres".

Waikato had the most competitive prices, he said.

As for planning for long-distance drives, Collins said foresight would help, especially if the destination was a remote area where petrol could be expensive.

There was no particular time of day when prices were cheaper.

"Usually at the beginning of the week often they'll put their pricing models out."

He said the price of fuel was affected by domestic and international factors.