Does my fuel price really matter?
The average Australian will drive 13,715 kilometers each year, using around 10.6L of fuel per hundred kilometers, or an annual total of 1,454L of fuel. Petrol is the most common fuel, so we'll look at petrol in our example, but the principle applies to any fuel type.
If you pay $1.49 per liter, this is a whopping $2,166 annual fuel bill.
If you get a better price of $1.20 per liter, you'll spend $420 less, a total of $1745 annual fuel cost.
This example shows how quickly seemingly insignificant fuel savings can add up. Here's how to find those savings:
Where to compare fuel savings
There are some national websites that provide invaluable information on the trends of fuel prices, and where you can buy fuel to save that 12c per L that'll put $10-15 back in your pocket each time you fill your tank.
Here's the shortlist:
ACCC fuel comparison website
The ACCC has a great resource that reveals the price cycle of petrol prices in your state.
Graphs illustrate the trend in petrol prices over the month, allowing you to determine if the price has reached the low point - when you should fill up! If you can see the price has spiked, and you have half a tank left, you might choose to wait until it drops before refueling.
The data shows the petrol cycle as a number of days, and you can see the length of the last five petrol price cycles in your capital city.
The information is updated each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Once you have this data on where you are in the fuel price cycle, you can use these apps to find the best price near you:
This app covers 4,500 service stations across Australia, combining data provided by app users, major fuel retailers, roaming drivers and service station operators to provide price information.
- Use a map to locate the lowest fuel price near you
- Update the price at your local service station
- View a daily average of petrol prices over the last week.
- The service isn't affiliated with any oil companies or petrol retailers.
This app is also available Australia-wide and includes e10 fuel prices and graphs. You can view prices on a location map, and participate in a daily promotion to win a $25 fuel card when you update the price of fuel at your local servo.
Can I impact fuel prices with my purchasing decisions?
Yes, you can. By purchasing fuel where prices are lower, you can put pressure on retailers to keep prices down for longer each cycle. The difference between wholesale and retail fuel prices has increased by 0.9c in the last 12 months, so consumer action is needed to ensure that this trend doesn't continue.
If you're thinking about changing to a smaller, more economical car, such as a turbo-diesel, hybrid, or even a fully electric car, you can consider car loan options to make this purchase sooner, and save money on fuel sooner.