Motorists can expect to pay a little more to fill up their car when a temporary moratorium on the government’s fuel excise duty expires next week.
From September 29, the price of gasoline will increase by 25 cents per liter.
In March, the Morrison government halved excise duty as part of a six-month temporary measure to ease cost-of-living pressure on motorists. Despite calls for Albania’s new government to extend the budget measures, the full excise tax is being reinstated.
The good news is that the price increase won’t happen suddenly, with motoring body NSW and ACT NRMA expecting the price increase to take effect with a delay as service stations restock with the new price.
The bad news is that this is happening. And with prices here may become even higher, as demand there is rapidly increasing.
Here’s how you can lower your gas bill.
Do your shopping
Gone are the days when you had to drive from servo to servo to secure the best fuel price, draining the car tank as you go.
There are now many programs and websites that can help you do this, some of which are government approved.
“Do a little research before you fill up and you’ll save yourself quite a bit of money,” NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury told SBS News.
“If you fill up at the first servo you see, chances are you’ll pay more than you need to.”
In New South Wales, the government’s Fuel Check website lets you find the best prices at your nearest service station, while the Northern Territory has MyFuel NT and Western Australia has FuelWatch.
South Australia and Queensland do not have their own pages, but list several external services on their websites that consumers can browse on their own to find the best local fuel price.
For motorists in Victoria and the ACT, who have no dedicated sites or links to external services, there are national petrol price watch sites.
Australian motorists will pay more at petrol stations when fuel excise duty is reinstated at the end of the month. Source: AAP / BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAPIMAGE
Among them is PetrolSpy, which has been endorsed by consumer protection group Choice with 90 per cent price accuracy. The selection is also approved by MotorMouth and Simples.
The 7-Eleven app also has a fuel lock feature that allows you to lock in the lowest fuel price for your chosen fuel at your nearest service station for seven days. You can then use that price at any other 7-Eleven service station, even if that servo is advertising a much higher price.
And you know those shopper fuel vouchers you get at the big supermarkets for a certain amount of money? Yes, they are still around. And they can save you some money.
Follow gasoline price cycles
OK, so it’s for the ultra-economy junkie, but it can really save you a fair bit if you’re watching your money.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) monitors the petrol price cycle – caused by the pricing policies of petrol retailers – in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
The charts on his site show where prices are rising or falling, which is a good indicator to fill in ahead of time. The charts are updated daily Monday through Friday around noon and show average daily prices over the last 45 days.
If you want to save on fuel, it is advisable not to take too much of the car with you for daily driving. Source: The moment of the Russian Federation / Michael Godek/Getty Images
An ACCC spokesman said buying from independent retailers and avoiding the peak of the petrol price cycle in the five biggest capital cities could save motorists a lot of money.
And it will continue to monitor wholesale and retail fuel prices even after the full return of fuel excise duty.
“The ACCC … will not hesitate to take action when retailers make misleading statements about price movements or where there is evidence of anti-competitive behavior (such as price collusion),” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The NRMA’s Mr Khoury says understanding price cycles can save motorists up to 30c a litre.
However, he adds, unfortunately, Tuesday is no longer the guaranteed cheapest day to fill, as it has been in recent years. But consumers can follow price cycles to find out what day prices fluctuate when they’re in these five capital cities.
Remove the load
No, seriously, get rid of all that unnecessary cargo from your car.
If you have a bunch of random items in your trunk, it’s best to put them in storage, as more car weight will mean more gas mileage.
“Put the golf clubs and snorkeling gear in the garage,” Mr. Khoury said.
Also, it may seem like a small thing, but little things can eat into fuel pretty quickly, like not using the A/C on a cool day, not maintaining proper tire pressure, or having the windows down in the backcountry, which can have a drag effect.
“You’d be surprised, these things can have a pretty significant impact.”