IF YOU wait until midweek to buy petrol to save a few dollars, you’re wasting your time.
That’s the message from industry experts after new research revealed 36 per cent of us were heading to the bowsers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the mistaken belief that fuel was cheaper on those days.
The latest consumer survey from finder.com.au found that Australians were using a range of hacks in an effort to lower their petrol bill, with more than one in three people filling up midweek.
The research found that 39 per cent of us won’t fill up unless we feel we’re getting a good price, and that one in five motorists were willing to drive three kilometres out of their way to find a bargain.
One in six drivers used service station-issued fuel cards to make savings, and 14 per cent used apps to track down the best price.
However, Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA) CEO Mark McKenzie said the cost of fuel ultimately depended on the petrol price cycle.
He said recent reports showed petrol prices were actually at a 15 year low, but that motorists were angered by price volatility.
“Buying petrol midweek will do damn all. Buying at different times of the week will have little to no affect. It depends on when discounts are operating,” he said.
“As an industry we actually think people are more peeved not about the quantum of price, but because it’s so volatile. You can fill up today and notice it has dropped four cents per litre, and tomorrow the price has gone up seven cents a litre.
“In real terms the price is the lowest it’s been in a long time. But we recognise that people are peeved about volatility.”
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said he wanted to bust common petrol price myths.
“It doesn’t matter if you fill up in the middle of the week. It’s irrelevant, because it just depends on where we are in the price cycle. The days of finding it’s cheaper on a Tuesday or a Wednesday are long gone,” he said.
“It’s entirely understandable that people are driving to find cheaper petrol because there’s such a breadth of prices, especially in the capital cities. But I’d encourage people rather than driving out of their way to do their research and find [reasonably priced petrol] on their journey so they’re not wasting time driving somewhere they weren’t going to go.”
Mr Khoury said that in July 2016, all NSW service station operators were required by law to register with FuelCheck, a state government-run online tool which provided “real-time information about fuel prices at every service station across NSW”.
He said he was “gobsmacked” that the other states hadn’t followed NSW’s lead, and that the availability of petrol prices was now saving the average NSW motorist $500 per year.
“Now we’ve got the app, it’s taken the guesswork out of the whole process,” he said.
“It’s significant to motorists because most people fill up weekly, so it’s a big deal.”
Both Mr Khoury and Mr McKenzie urged consumers to use FuelCheck and other petrol price apps such as MyNRMA, GasBuddy and MotorMouth, as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer’s petrol price cycle report.
“We’re one of the few industries where people who have the will can actually find a lower price, but they really need to use these resources,” Mr McKennzie said.
“We typically say to people to stay away from the top of the petrol cycle three days before and three days after when there’s higher prices and greater volatility. Not all petrol stations charge the same petrol price so generally if you shop around the local area you will actually find some variance of up to four or five cents a litre.”
Mr McKenzie said the discounting cycle was a “market dynamic” that had nothing to do with world oil prices, which had increased by 40 per cent since June and were expected to stay at $60-$70 a barrel “for the foreseeable future”.
“A rough rule of thumb is that for every 10 per cent increase in world oil prices, we see a one per cent increase in the average price of petrol at the pump,” he said.
Extracted from: Herald Sun