How to avoid the current record-high petrol prices

Petrol prices are at a four-year high, here’s are some tips to save money at the pump.

Petrol prices have soared across the country, reaching the highest they’ve been in four years.

By Christmas prices could creep up to a staggering two dollars a litre, with no relief in sight. But with some research, and taking simple precautions while driving you could slash your costs.

TODAY spoke with Peter Khoury from the National Roads and Motorists’ Association who gave us his top tips on saving on petrol.

TODAY: Peter – things aren’t looking good. How much is petrol costing Australians?

KHOURY: Things are not good. They’ve not been good throughout 2018 and the forecast isn’t much better. We’ve seen prices across the country now at a four/four and a half year high. Regional areas are also suffering. Average prices in the major capitals have been in the low $1.60 range at the top of their cycle, and those sorts of high point prices are going to get worse.

TODAY: And how can we avoid these price hikes?

KHOURY: More than ever before it’s important that people do their research before they fill up. In capital cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide there are price cycles, so getting people to fill up at the bottom of those cycles is important. The gaps between the high point and the low point can be anywhere between 20 and 30 cents per litre. In NSW doing your research before you fill up is easier than anywhere else in Australia, as the government introduced real time data reforms, which was off the back of campaigning by the NRMA. This means every service station in NSW is forced by law to post their prices in real time. This information is then available to the public for free through the NRMA app if you’re a member, or through the government website called FuelCheck. So regardless of how high prices are, because of the spread of service stations in terms of how much the cheapest is compared to the most expensive, you can always find a bargain. It’s a lot harder outside of NSW, and one of the things NRMA would like to see is that legislation introduced nationally.

Top tip

Read about some of the latest petrol-saving apps in the 9Saver Petrol Savings Guide

TODAY: Is there a way we can keep track of the cheapest deals?

KHOURY: The motoring clubs will have information on their websites about prices in their area. Make sure you fill up at the bottom of the cycle and are listening to the information available through the NRMA, the ACCC, and do your research before you fill up. That’s the best way to save when you’re filling up. There is always going to be a spread of prices across service stations and it’s important you find the cheapest ones.

TODAY: How can we make sure that our petrol lasts longer?

KHOURY: There are things you can do when you’re driving to help reduce your consumption, and these can have quite an impact. We are talking about sometimes 5-10% fuel consumption, and it’s simple things to do and think about when you get in the car. Make sure you’re not carrying unnecessary weight in the vehicle, if you’re the sort of person who likes to carry your golf clubs or diving gear in the boot, take it out. Make sure the tyre pressure on your vehicle is to the manufacturers specification because that will help, and be selective about when you use your air-conditioning. If you’re driving around the city and you’re stopping and starting, if it’s not too hot of a day it’s better to put the window down, but if you’re driving longer distances at higher speed, use the air-con because if you have your windows down it will create drag and it means your car needs to consume more fuel.

Interview and additional text by Luke Worthington.

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