The fuel excise discount ends this week and petrol prices will make their way back up. But there are still ways to save money at the pump if you follow these tips.
The 23-cent-per-litre discount is set to be wound up on Wednesday 29 September after the government repeatedly refused to extend it.
Initially put in place by the previous Morrison government as a temporary cost-of-living measure, the fuel discount alleviated at least some of the pressures being faced by Australian households.
Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the end of the discount shouldn’t “cause an immediate price hike” as the country has reserve fuel supplies that haven’t been subject to the full fuel excise.
“Industry estimates that there [will] be more than 700 million litres of lower excise fuel in the system when the fuel excise is reintroduced,” he said.
“This is 700 million reasons why the price should not shoot up by the full 23 cents on the night that the excise relief ends.”
Still, it will eventually rise – and most households are concerned about the impact.
Research from consumer group Mozo found that 15 per cent of people feel they won’t be able to afford the price increase and are planning to drive less as a result.
Around 32 per cent said they were planning to cut back on discretionary spending and 16 per cent said they would need to use savings to cover fuel costs.
“While the increase may seem small, there’s no doubt the extra cost will hit hip pockets hard, particularly after the news of a further rate hike by the RBA,” says Claire Frawley, personal finance expert at Mozo.
“But before Aussies dip into their emergency fund, it could be worthwhile getting creative about the ways they can save at the petrol pump.”
Ms Frawley has five tips to save money at the petrol station.
Fill up now
This will only save you money on one tank, but the savings will be substantial if you can fill up before the full 46-cent-per-litre excise is reinstated on 29 September. You’ve got about a day and a half so get cracking!
Use fuel apps to track the best price
There are many government-run and third-party fuel price-tracking apps that can help you plan when and where to fill up.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission runs the national Petrol Price Cycle Tracker for prices across the capital cities.
Lock in your price
Some retailers, such as 7-Eleven, allow you to use their fuel app to find the best price near you, then lock it in for up to seven days. This can really help those trying to fit fuel increases into a fixed income budget.
If you live in a suburb where petrol is cheaper but are not in the position to fill up, locking in a cheaper price can reduce the cost of the next tank.
Use discount vouchers
Always remember to look at the back of your grocery receipts. Not only are there all sorts of discounts for local businesses, large retailers such as Coles and Woolworths usually include fuel discounts for their branded petrol stations.
Clear out your car
This one might be a bit less obvious, but reducing the weight your car is carrying can deliver substantial savings. Make sure you regularly clear your boot and cabin of any heavy items, as they are just dead weight costing you money when you drive.
Are you worried about being able to afford fuel when the full excise returns? Let us know in the comments section below.