Fuel prices drop to lowest point in year

6:17 am on 13 February 2016

If the fuel tank's getting low, there is some good news - so are petrol prices.

no caption

Photo: RNZ

The national average fuel price is the cheapest it's been in a year, dropping six cents so far this week to $1.77 a litre.

But some motorists may be getting a better deal than others - and going just a few minutes out of the way to fill up could mean $20 in your pocket.

At a Caltex gas station just outside Sylvia Park in Auckland, the price sits at just $1.54, more than 20 cents cheaper than the average. In fact, it's the cheapest place to fill up in the region.

Domonique lives nearby, and said he often travelled to Northland.

He made sure he filled up at this station beforehand because of how expensive fuel was in the regions.

"The prices become dearer, so it's always good to gas up in Auckland city before we travel anywhere."

Simon Hema works just across the road, and said he's not too bothered either way.

"I'm not really driven by pricing, it's all about when I'm running out of gas."

Just eight kilometres away, one of the most expensive gas stations to fill up is a BP in Remuera, home to some of the country's most expensive houses.

There, fuel is $1.77 a litre.

James Mackay, a graduate chiropractor and North Shore resident, said he was filling up begrudgingly because he was low on gas.

"We're only putting in a little bit just to get home.

"I usually know the cheapest spots and I tend to go to those spots more."

AA spokesperson Mark Stockdale said the big discrepancy was all because of petrol retailer Gull.

"They are a cheaper fuel brand, they have lower costs and also pay less tax on premium petrol, because it's got ethanol in it."

"For all those reasons they're doing the right thing by charging less for their fuel."

That ripples out to other companies as well.

"Other fuel companies that are operating in the same areas as Gull, they feel they need to match Gull's prices, because if they don't match Gull's prices, all of their consumers will go to the Gull's service stations."

The effect can be seen in several areas around the North Island.

It's good news for those who live near a Gull. Otherwise, it's $1.77 a litre like most around the country, or else driving a little more out of the way.

Mr Stockdale said things were looking up for the rest of the country, as he expected fuel companies to cut a further three or four cents by the end of the week.

While the global oil market was unpredictable, it was likely to continue to push the price of oil further down in the near future.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs