How to Save on Fuel These Holidays
Petrol prices hit an eight-year high recently before the Federal budget speech on 28 March brought some relief for Aussie motorists in announcing a 50% slash of the fuel excise. However, this is expected to be a temporary measure lasting only six months. So what can you do in the face of rising fuel prices?
Even with the fuel excise reduction, petrol is still one of the highest monthly ongoing costs when it comes to car ownership. Especially now so many of us are back on the roads for work, travel, and day to day errands after limiting our movement due to pandemic-related lockdowns.
Needing to be money-savvy about your petrol costs is an art which is here to stay, sadly. But the good news is that implementing a few simple habits could save you cash for years to come.
Average petrol prices in Australia
Before the fuel tax was reduced, what were petrol prices looking like from state to state? Seriously scary! While the petrol prices in Queensland and Victoria were lower than the fuel prices in Tasmania and the Northern Territory, Aussies nationwide were still struggling with the cost per litre.
And many still are.
And of course if you’re in a capital city like Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne, your fuel prices will likely be higher than in regional areas within the same state/territory. Sorry, city dwellers…
Below is the average petrol price for different states and territories before the reduction to the fuel excise hit:
|Australian Capital Territory||$2.13|
|New South Wales||$2.13|
Have a diesel car? Average prices for end March are below:
|Australian Capital Territory||$2.16|
|New South Wales||$2.15|
Until 28 September we can feel some relief from reduced fuel prices thanks to the slashing of the fuel tax. But it is a short term fix and the underlying problem remains. Learn more about that below.
Why are fuel prices so high?
Many Australians assume that the scary petrol prices are due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. And you’d be partly right. Trade restrictions imposed upon Russia have had a ripple effect across the globe, and it’s one of the main reasons why the fuel price has risen drastically in Australia.
However, COVID is another culprit. Yep, even as we begin to (hopefully!) emerge from the pandemic, it’s still having knock-on effects on the economy.
Global lockdowns negatively impacted the demand for fuel during the ongoing pandemic, as fewer people were driving and travelling, and plenty of businesses dependent on oil were temporarily closed or slowed down operations.
As we emerge from the pandemic, the demand for oil has skyrocketed but supply chains are struggling to keep pace. With high demand and lower supply, prices tend to increase.
Saving money on petrol this Easter
First things first: if you’re in the market for a new car, choosing a car with good fuel consumption (or an electric car or hybrid car, if you’re so inclined) can make a really big difference to your ongoing monthly costs. Our fuel consumption comparison could be useful if you’re considering a new ride, too.
And with so many small cars in Australia available on the market, a little zippy run-around car could save you a lot in comparison to a petrol-guzzling SUV.
But most of us aren’t necessarily in a position to buy a new – or new to you – car right now. Or maybe you love your car just as it is.
Whatever the reason, we’re going to assume you’re not looking to replace your wheels, and want to save money on petrol while still driving your current car. Especially with Easter holiday road trips on the horizon.
From lowering your fuel consumption when you’re on the road to being financially-savvy, here’s how you can beat petrol price hikes now and in future.
Driving habits to save fuel
One of the best ways to save money on petrol (despite the prices!) is to check in on – and potentially change – the way you drive. Being economical in your driving habits can make a big difference to fuel consumption.
That means not accelerating like you’re tackling the F1 circuit, braking steadily at all times, and going easy on the aircon. We’re not saying don’t use it. Just that you might not want it on 16 degrees every minute you’re in the car.
Did you know that having your tyres checked regularly can help you dodge high fuel prices too? Reducing the load in your boot and on your roof racks can help as well. For detailed help including these tips and more, we have an entire article on improving fuel efficiency when driving. Read through it to get the best bang for your buck when you’re behind the wheel.
Once you’re driving fuel-consciously, it’s time to tackle the personal finance side of things.
Other life hacks to beat petrol prices
So, how else can you beat the pinch when it comes to fuel price?
One way to get more value for your money is to use a loyalty card and/or credit card that gives you cash back on your fuel purchases. That way, you’re either getting a noticeable discount or earning cash or points for money you’re spending – rewards you can redirect elsewhere. Just remember to set a sensible limit and only spend what you can pay back each month.
We recently saw a cool hack from an Aussie mum who managed to save $20 on a tank of fuel by using the 7-Eleven app. Basically, the app allows you to “lock in” a price for up to 7 days, which can be redeemed at any 7-Eleven service station. So if you’re diligent about keeping an eye on fuel prices and spot a bargain lock it in even if your tank isn’t empty.
On top of that, we know there can be quite a lot of variance from the cheapest to the most expensive fuel prices. By filling up somewhere cheaper, you could save a decent amount per tank.
But instead of driving around using all that fuel to find a cheap station, try sites like Petrol Spy that find cheap petrol prices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra.
Car insurance savings
No matter how high petrol prices go, one place you shouldn’t be skimping is your car insurance. The last thing you want is to be left out of pocket after an accident, whether on or off the road.
Instead, choose the right car insurance for your needs – whether that’s comprehensive car insurance in Australia or something with lower cover. Taking out a good policy can provide you with affordable, value-rich cover that gives you peace of mind if you ever need to claim.
If you’re budget-savvy, remember there are plenty of ways to lower your car insurance premium for even more savings.