SOUTH Australians drive the hardest bargain in the nation on petrol prices, a survey shows.

It reveals we are the keenest followers of price cycles, and almost three quarters of motorists wait for prices to bottom out before filling up.

Latest figures show Adelaide petrol prices were the cheapest across the nation’s capitals last financial year, averaging 120c/l.

Yesterday, prices across Adelaide averaged 126c/l.

Not only do three in four SA motorists wait for the cheapest price to refuel — compared to the national average of two-thirds — we are also the least likely to regularly buy from the same service station, the Canstar Blue survey of 2500 drivers indicated.

Some 72 per cent of local drivers also try to save petrol by avoiding rapid acceleration and air conditioner use, the highest in the nation, and significantly greater than the 66 per cent national average.

Canstar Blue Editor Simon Downes said SA drivers’ buying habits were based on experience of the petrol pricing cycle.

“South Australians are clearly being more proactive in trying to get better value,’’ he said.

“I think motorists are becoming wiser and more conscious about the price they pay for fuel. “They know what a good price is, and they know when they’re being taken for a ride’’.

Mr Downes said drivers increasingly relied on pricing information in the media to avoid “the classic dilemma of needing to drive further for cheaper fuel’’.

The RAA said these survey results mirrored its own research, which showed local motorists were the “most price-sensitive’’ in the country.

The state’s largest motoring organisation said that with the help of commercial and social media, it would highlight when prices bottomed out and were about to spike “so people know when to fill up’’.

RAA senior analyst Chris West said there could be a significant price gap between petrol prices across Adelaide, including a 20c/l difference yesterday.

“In Adelaide, there are regions which drop quicker and price changes which are not consistent,’’ he said.

Mr West said strong competition in the retail market helped Adelaide motorists enjoy the cheapest average petrol prices in the nation last financial year at 120c/l, compared the highest price of 123.8c/l in Brisbane. However, he said the same was not the case with LPG.

While Adelaide also enjoyed the second cheapest diesel prices of the capitals cities in 2015/16 at 116.7c/l, LPG prices here averaged 67.4c/l in that period.

This was significantly higher than Melbourne (55c/l) and Sydney (60.9c/l) even though wholesale costs were comparable.

Mr West blamed Adelaide’s high LPG prices on retailers who had failed to pass on wholesale costs savings at the pump.

Extracted in full from The Daily Telegraph.