Jackson Stiles, Emma Manser & Anthony Colangelo, 11 November 2015

By reading fuel cycles, you can save serious dollars when filling up at the bowser.

The cost of fuel is headed for short-term decline in several major cities, but that’s not the good news drivers should focus on.

Experts have predicted price dips in Sydney and Perth in the next seven days, and that Melbourne will trend down for the next fortnight, but warned that consumers should look for savings further into the future.

The key is predicting and capitalising on price cycles, which The New Dailyhas mapped out with the help of analysts.

A spokesman for the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) said dips in price during the “volatile” cycles of most major cities could be exploited by penny pinchers.

In the short-term, prices will probably fall in Sydney and Melbourne to Brisbane-style lows of $1.18 or possibly as low as $1.13 per litre.

“Depending where in the cycle the capital city is, we would hope all others would soon, for example, end up where Brisbane is at currently,” NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said.

It’s this cycle, not the seven-day price, that matters, another expert said. Once you know it, you’ll have a chance of keeping more coin in your pocket.

Fuel price analyst Alan Cadd, spokesman for Motormouth, said that Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth exhibited clear trends that savvy fuel buyers could follow. Canberra, Darwin and Hobart exhibited no clear trend.

“Our view is that knowing when to buy is much more important than knowing where to buy.”

Sydney has a cycle of 10 days, Melbourne a cycle of four weeks, Adelaide a rough cycle of 12 days and Perth seven days, according to data compiled by Informed Sources and analysed by Mr Cadd.

“If you can buy at the down point in the cycle, you’re saving 15 or 18 cents, so time your buys.”

Any chance at savings would be extremely helpful for the average Australian household, St Vincent de Paul spokesman Gavin Duffy said.

“A reduction in fuel prices does make a difference to households,” Mr Duffy said.

“Some feel it more than others [especially] people outside the metropolitan area who drive more and have less access to public transport and those with larger families.”

An ‘unfair’ cycle of profit

The highs are getting higher and the lows lower, according to a fuel price analyst in South Australia – both an opportunity and a source of frustration for customers.

It seems clear that petrol sellers are to blame, Royal Automobile Association (RAA) spokesman Andrew Clark said.

“Fuel retailers are pushing this gap out a little bit wider each month where the differences between the low part of the cycle and the high part of the cycle are starting to increase,” Mr Clark told The New Daily.

“When it’s in the low part of the cycle, the retailer will be very, very close to wholesale price. Sometimes it might even dip under wholesale price to draw customers to their site.

“But when prices spike, they are spiking unfairly and going to a higher price than what you would normally regard as reasonable.”

How to save if the bowser doesn’t budge

If the predictions prove false, there are practical ways to spend less on petrol.

Veteran fuel efficiency advocates John and Helen Taylor previously shared with The New Daily their tips for reducing how much your car guzzles each week.

Drive slower: “It’s imperative to drive smoothly and avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking,” the couple said.

Keep up tyre pressure: “A tyre that is under inflated by just one PSI can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as three per cent.”

Travel as light as possible: “For every 45kg you carry, your fuel efficiency can drop by two per cent.”

Extracted in full from The New Daily.