If you’re sick of petrol prices taking a toll on your wallet, you’re not alone. Fuel costs have soared in the past few months across Australia’s five largest cities. Here are eight tips to help you beat those bowser blues.
EDITOR’S NOTE: You’re reading a story by financial comparisons website, Finder.com.au. We’ll be bringing you a number of stories in partnership with Finder, giving you the benefit of expert insight from a team obsessed with the finer details of purchasing and owning a new car.
There can often be a considerable price difference across service stations in any given area. Apps such as MotorMouth, PetrolSpy, GasBuddy and FuelCheck take the hard yards out of petrol price comparison by sourcing the cheapest spot to fill up based on your location. The apps update in real time as well, ensuring you can keep up to date with fluctuating prices.
Booking an Uber, or renting a vehicle from a service like GoGet or Car Next Door, is a simple and affordable alternative to using your own car – especially if you’re travelling with friends. Sydneysiders in some suburbs also have the benefit of uberPOOL. This can significantly lower your fare if you opt to carpool with other people headed the same way as you. Best of all, you won’t need to worry about finding parking.
A rewards card can help minimise fuel costs while earning reward points as you spend. Most major service stations now hold partnerships with various rewards programs and/or rewards credit cards. To earn points, all you need to do is swipe your rewards card when you purchase fuel – just make sure you remember to fill up at a service station partnered with the rewards program you hold a membership with. Keep in mind that a higher annual fee may apply to rewards cards.
Staying up to date with car services can prevent mechanical problems from developing later down the track. Maintaining your car in top notch condition means it will run smoothly and consume less petrol (good news for your wallet as well as the environment!). Aim to get it serviced every six months for optimum fuel efficiency.
Keeping your tyres at the correct air pressure can give you as much as 3.3% more fuel usage. Deflated tyres place more pressure on the engine to keep the car moving, consuming more petrol in the process. Keeping your tyres in check will also extend the length of their life and enable them to perform properly when braking and in wet conditions. Make sure to refer to the owner’s manual for the recommended air pressure.
Engines can be thirsty! Using the correct gears if you drive a manual car means that the engine won’t have to work as hard to keep moving. Revving the accelerator while driving in a lower gear can guzzle fuel unnecessarily as can heavy acceleration, so gather momentum slowly. Not having a lead foot can improve your fuel usage by up to 33% – especially on highways and freeways.
People used to believe that Tuesdays or Wednesdays were the cheapest days to fill up since fresh fuel deliveries usually occurred on a Thursday. However, over the past few years, the fuel delivery cycle has become far less predictable. In response to this, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) created its Petrol price cycles website, which allows drivers to monitor the rise and fall of fuel prices across the country and predict the best days to fill up. If possible, check the site before heading to the bowser – you may find you’ll get more bang for your buck if you wait a day or two.
Many of the larger grocery stores such as Woolworths or Coles issue fuel discount vouchers on the back of their shopping dockets. This can help to shave a few dollars off the cost of a tank when used at participating petrol stations. Keep the coupons or vouchers somewhere handy where you’ll remember to use them. Your wallet or car glove box can be a good option.