27 Jun 2023

Petrol panic: Queues forming at Auckland service stations before fuel tax returns

7:59 pm on 27 June 2023

By Rachel Maher and Kirsty Wynn of NZ Herald

Large queues formed outside the Manukau Mobil this evening.

Large queues formed outside the Manukau Mobil. Photo: NZ Herald

Queues are forming outside Auckland petrol stations as motorists try to take advantage of the last days of cheaper petrol.

The price per litre will jump about 29 cents from Saturday, when government subsidies on petrol excise duty and road user charges end.

After 30 June, the 25 cents per litre discount on petrol will be added at the pump - by the time GST is added the reinstated tax will add nearly 29 cents to the litre price.

Outside the Manukau Mobil petrol station, which at one point was advertising a litre of 91 unleaded for $2.17 for motorists with a discount card, there was a large queue of cars.

On Saturday, people took to social media posting photos of long lines outside the Costco Westgate of cars waiting to fill up.

This week, on fuel comparison app Gaspy, a litre of 91 unleaded in Auckland ranged from $2.14 to $2.77 a litre.

With tax added, the cheapest available would be $2.43 a litre and $3.06 for the most expensive.

Most service stations are charging $2.49 for a litre of 91 - which will become about $2.78 from 1 July.

For motorists using Premium 95 or 98 octane, the price will easily click over $3 per litre, depending on where they fill up.

The fuel discounts were introduced last March after Russia's invasion of Ukraine lead to a spike in fuel prices.

Discounted fuel then continued as part of the government's cost-of-living relief.

Over the weekend, Terry Collins from the AA urged motorists to fuel up early to avoid queues at petrol stations.

"I'd encourage people not to leave filling up to the last minute if they want to avoid queues or the pumps running dry."

He said service stations overseas had been swamped with motorists in the same circumstances, causing long queues and hazards.

"Also, to avoid the possibility that some petrol stations might sell out if there's a final rush in your neighbourhood, take advantage of the lower prices a day or two early."

The message was supported by Simon Bradwell of the Motor Trade Association who urged motorists to be kind to staff if there were delays.

"At this stage, it's hard to know how things will play out when the subsidy ends. What we would ask is that motorists don't take out any frustrations on service station staff. They aren't the ones responsible for prices going up when the subsidy ends," Bradwell said.

"Similarly, if there are queues on June 30 as people look to fill up, don't get impatient with staff. Everyone will be doing their best."

- This story was first published by NZ Herald.

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