How to Save Money on Petrol

How to Save Money on Petrol

Joseph Darby

19 ways to save at the pump

Let's face it, nobody enjoys watching their hard-earned money disappear at the petrol pump.

But with fuel prices on the rise, this sight has become all too common.

While local and global fuel prices remain uncertain, you can still take control of your gas expenses.

Let’s explore how you can make your journey towards savings smooth and efficient. From using gas-saving apps to adopting smarter driving habits, we've got fuel-saving tips that'll make those trips to the petrol station a little less painful.

The Petrol Pinch

Oil prices are rising globally due to factors such as the war in Ukraine and the post-pandemic economic recovery. The weak New Zealand dollar is also making imported goods more expensive, including petrol.

The supply deficit is expected to persist due to extended supply cuts by major oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia, along with other OPEC members.

The increasing cost of petrol is a major concern for many New Zealanders, straining household budgets and prompting some to cut back on essential expenses to afford fuel.

Why Is It So Expensive Here?

It’s no surprise that countries with well-developed oil and gas industries pay a lot less at the pump than we do. As reported by the Automobile Association (“AA”), about half of the petrol price we pay in NZ is various taxes.

Furthermore, AA principal motoring affairs policy advisor Terry Collins told RNZ the closure of the Marsden Refinery has contributed to the rise in petrol prices. That’s because we don’t refine any petrol in New Zealand anymore – it all must be imported.

How to Save Money on Petrol

Pay Less at the Pump

The actions you can take to reduce fuel consumption and overall driving costs fall into two broad categories:

  1. Driving and petrol-buying habits, and
  2. Activities directly related to your vehicle.

Modify Your Driving and Petrol-Buying Habits

1. Use a Gas-Saving Application (“App”)

One of the most effective ways of saving on petrol is by using a gas-saving app.

These apps help you find the cheapest gas prices near you, track your gas mileage, and even earn rewards for refueling.

Sometimes, the petrol station across town offers a better deal than your local one, so it pays to explore your options.

Here are some gas-saving apps you can use in New Zealand:


Gaspy is a crowd-sourced gas price app that shows you the cheapest fuel prices near you, based on real-time reports from other users.

You can also use Gaspy to track your gas mileage and earn rewards for filling up. Over one million New Zealanders are using the App.


Fuelio is a fuel tracking app that helps you track your fuel consumption and expenses.

Fuelio makes it easy to track your fuel usage by allowing you to enter the amount of fuel you purchased, the price, and the mileage on your car.

The app then calculates your fuel consumption and displays it in a graph. You can also track your fuel expenses over time and see how much you're spending on gas.

You can also set reminders for oil changes and other car maintenance tasks.

Fuelio is a great app for anyone who wants to save money on gas. It's easy to use and provides valuable insights into your fuel consumption and expenses.


The Sharetank app is a mobile app from Z Energy that allows you to pre-purchase fuel at the current price and use it later.

This can be a great way to save money on gas, especially if you know that prices are going to go up.

To use the Sharetank app, simply create an account and link your Z Energy card. Then, you can choose how much fuel you want to purchase and when you want to use it.

You can also choose to share your Sharetank with others.

When you’re ready to use your fuel, simply open the Sharetank app and scan the QR code at the pump.

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PriceWatch provides information on fuel prices in New Zealand, with data sourced from fuel purchase transactions that are processed by CardLink using CardLink provided fuel cards.

CardLink is a company that provides businesses with fuel cards that they can use to purchase fuel for their fleets of vehicles. This can be a convenient and cost-effective way for businesses to manage their fuel expenses.

Only fuel sites within New Zealand that accept CardLink provided fuel cards are displayed in the detailed site listing in PriceWatch.

The data is a minimum of 24 hours old and is refreshed at midnight each night. The data is updated at the end of each working day for fuel sites that are not online.

Petrol Station Apps

The Get Pumped at Z app offers a six cents discount per litre every time you fill up. You can earn points for accumulated discounts, plus earn Flybuys or Airpoints dollars.

The Mobil NZ App is a “fuss-free” way to pay for petrol before you fill up. Mobil also offers six cents off per litre with the Mobil Smiles Driver Rewards programme.

The BPMe App also offers faster fuelling and coffee ordering on the go. You’ll never miss a saving with the digital rewards card and you’ll also receive exclusive deals. The AA Smartfuel programme offers fuel savings here.

The Caltex App also offers the convenience of paying before you pump. Get pumped discounts, find the best price in your area, and earn Flybuys and Airpoints rewards.

2. Limit Aircon or Use Eco-Aircon

Using your car’s air conditioner can reduce fuel economy by as much as 25%. That’s especially pronounced in hot weather, on short trips, and in hybrid-electric vehicles.

3. Reduce Excess Vehicle Weight

If you thought about it, it would be gone by now. But, all that extra junk in your vehicle’s boot could have a noticeable impact on its fuel economy, even if you’re not carrying brick blocks back there.

Dedicate a little time to clean out your car boot, removing anything you don’t regularly use. Store anything you need in your garage, shed, or spare room, and throw out or give away the rest.

4. Keep the Windows Up

You might not notice the difference over any given day or month, but keeping your car’s windows up improves your car’s aerodynamic performance and trims your fuel bill.

5. Plan Your Trip Ahead of Time

Instead of hitting the supermarket today, the home improvement store tomorrow, and somewhere else the day after, set aside a weekend afternoon (or weekday evening if your work schedule allows) to get them all done at once.

Planning your trips ahead of time can help you avoid unnecessary driving. Try to combine errands and avoid driving during rush hour. Avoid using your car for short trips.

6. Minimise Idling

Avoid running your car’s motor whenever possible while parked or waiting.

That said, idling is unavoidable in certain situations, like warming up and de-icing a car on a frosty morning. But you don’t need to let your car run for 30 minutes before hopping in.

Leave your car idling in the morning only enough to reach a comfortable interior temperature. Or keep your coat on in the car and drive off as soon as you start the engine.

7. Observe the Speed Limit

Don’t waste fuel by exceeding the limit.

If you’ve got it, cruise control can help maintain a constant, law-abiding speed, especially on longer trips. Cruise control is nearly always gentler than human driving, helping to reduce excess fuel consumption through consistency.

You might also save on traffic tickets too!

8. Ease Off the Accelerator

Even the most efficient route involves some stops and starts. To minimise the impact on your fuel economy and cost, execute them as gently as possible.

Accelerate slowly and coast gradually to a braking stop.

The website reports these driving practices can reduce fuel consumption by up to 40% in stop-and-go traffic and up to 30% on the motorway.

9. Take the Most Fuel-Efficient Route to Your Destination

Cars burn more fuel during acceleration than while coasting or cruising. That means the most fuel-efficient route to your destination isn’t necessarily the shortest. It’s the route that requires the least acceleration and deceleration — the one with fewer stoplights, less congestion, lower traffic volumes, or better traffic flow overall.

Apple Maps and Google Maps are both great at this.

10. Remove Roof Racks and Roof Cargo Boxes

Hauling cargo on your roof increases wind resistance and lowers fuel economy.

If you need to use an external cargo container, removing it when it's not in use will save you fuel and money.

11. Grocery Store Discounts

Often the best prices can be found at large grocery stores like PAK'nSAVE and Costco. Some require memberships, but the savings might just be worth it.

12. Don’t Drive at All!

You guessed it, the best way to save on petrol is to not drive at all! This could mean:

  • Ride a bike to nearby locations instead
  • Working or studying from home
  • Public transport, if you live in an area with good public choices
  • Carpooling (yes, you will still have to drive a little)
  • Moving to live in a more convenient location

Choosing and Maintaining Your Vehicle

The biggest influence on your overall fuel bill is your vehicle itself. Choosing a more fuel-efficient car can reduce your petrol costs, all other things being equal.

13. Downsize

If you have a SUV or Ute, consider trading it in for a smaller, more fuel-efficient car.

14. Go Electric

Electric vehicle cars are cheaper to run over the long-term, even if they come at a higher initial cost than conventional vehicles.

Gen Less compared four common EVs in New Zealand to some petrol equivalents. The average cost per litre was $2.63 at the time, and the average cost per 100km was $20.72. The EV equivalent cost an average of $2.79 per 100km, which was a fuel saving of almost $18 per litre. The average Kiwi travels approximately 11,500km a year, so that's an annual saving of around $2,000.

EV users are also exempt from Road User Charges until 2024.

15. Keep Your Tyres Properly Inflated

Tyres inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure can improve range by up to 3%.

You can find your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure in your owner’s manual.

16. Use the Correct Motor Oil Blend and Fuel Grade

Using the engine oil blend recommended by your vehicle manufacturer (available in your owner’s manual) can boost fuel economy. So too can upgrading to a newer, more fuel-efficient oil type at your next oil change.

Likewise, don’t fill up with premium petrol if your vehicle manufacturer doesn’t recommend it. If your car is built to handle regular unleaded, stick with that.

17. Check Your Petrol Cap Seal

If you drive an older vehicle, you might not get the courtesy of a warning light as your petrol cap seal weakens and allows oxygen to leak into the gas tank, burning more fuel in the process.

Fortunately, many petrol caps are cheap, typically costing under $30 at major retailers or online.

18. Follow Your Car’s Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Proper vehicle maintenance improves vehicle fuel economy and reduces harmful emissions.

For instance:

  • Keeping your vehicle’s oxygen sensor in good working order is especially important. A faulty sensor can reportedly reduce fuel economy by as much as 40%.
  • Periodically replacing your air filter and spark plugs (whether on your own or during a routine auto checkup) can help your engine burn gas more efficiently. Replacing an air filter is an easy DIY car maintenance job that should cost you no more than $50 on your own.
  • Simply keeping your engine tuned — a key component of manufacturer-recommended scheduled maintenance — can improve fuel economy by 4%.

19. Check Your Wheel Alignment

Tyre balancing helps to ensure the tyre spins evenly around the axle and having even tyre wear around the circumference reduces rolling resistance with the road. In turn, this helps improve your car’s fuel efficiency.

The Bottom Line:  Navigate Rising Fuel Prices with Ease

While fuel prices might fluctuate, your ability to make savvy choices at the pump remains constant.

Whether you prefer using high-tech apps or old-school cash, these tips can help you keep more money in your pocket. Then you can spend it or invest it toward things that really matter!

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