Pain at the pump: Wairarapa petrol prices

Fuel prices up around the country – how does Wairarapa compare?

ELISA VORSTER and CAL ROBERTS

Petrol prices have hit a record high around the country this week, leaving people questioning where the best and worst places are to fill up their tanks.

Prices for 91 octane fuel in Wairarapa have so far all managed to stay below $2.20 per litre, while prices in Wellington and parts of the South Island have reached $2.30.

The price board at Z Masterton on Wednesday.

A quick scan of the region’s petrol stations on Wednesday showed BP Martinborough and g.a.s. Masterton seemed to share the lowest prices, charging $2.099 for 91 and $1.399 for diesel.

Meanwhile, if you’re in Eketehuna, you can expect to pay the highest prices in the region, with 91 costing $2.19 per litre, and diesel costing $1.49.

And if you think they have it bad, spare a thought for those on Waiheke Island who are now facing a whopping $2.51 per litre for 91, and on Great Barrier Island where it’s over $3 a litre.

The cheapest price per litre in the country was $1.949 in Levin.

On Wednesday, Greytown, Carterton and Featherston were all charging over $2.14 per litre, making them more expensive overall than Masterton petrol stations, where only two stations were charging more than $2.129 per litre.

Wairarapa Automobile Association chairman and national councillor Martin Napier said prices were certainly going up.

“It is creeping up, there’s no doubt about that.”

But he was at a loss to explain why.

“Our exchange rate has dropped a little, but it hasn’t dropped dramatically.

“Nothing to instigate such a sharp increase, that’s for sure.”

Any sort of regional fuel tax on top would be “horrendous”, he said.

Mr Napier had recently driven home from Auckland and said he saw petrol going from $1.96 to $2.39.

“It’s all over the place.”

He said everyone knew about the Gull effect – “where there’s a Gull there’s usually cheaper prices”.

Gull announced on Thursday that it is offering 12 cents off per litre across all fuel on its official discount day from 7am Wednesday until midday today.

Gull spokesman Rohan Mehta said the discount was not restricted by minimum dollar or maximum litre fills.

Mr Napier had some tips on being smart with fuel, saying it made no sense to travel out of the region to save cents on fuelling your car.

“If you’re buying thousands of litres it might.”

But he said the smartest thing a motorist could do to save fuel was to make sure their vehicle was in good running order.

“Make sure your car is tuned up and tyres are the right pressure.

“Make sure the car is running well so you can get maximum distance out of the fuel that you’re having to pay for.”

He said it was smart to shop around – within reason.

“If you’re in Masterton, shop in Masterton. But it’s really important that your car is in good condition.”

Consumer New Zealand has said record high petrol prices could backfire on fuel companies if nothing is done to bring them down, while the AA is urging the Government to cut 10 cents of tax off the price per litre immediately.

The best ways you can save petrol

Make sure your tyres are pumped correctly.

Barack Obama was mocked for suggesting this back when he was running for President in 2008 – but the Automobile Association has found incorrect tyre pressure uses nearly 8 per cent more petrol than having them pumped the correct pressure. The Motor Trade Association recommends checking tyre pressure monthly and before long trips.

Try to avoid rush hour

Idling for long periods and constant stopping and starting uses more fuel than a smooth run from A to B. The AA says turning your engine off if you’re stuck in traffic for longer than 30 seconds is better than keeping the car running.

Don’t speed

According to the MTA, fuel consumption increases by about 6 per cent for every 10kmh faster you go over 90km/h. For most drivers, 100km/h is a good compromise between travel time and fuel economy.

Keep your load light

A bag of golf clubs in the boot making an unnecessary trip to the supermarket means more petrol is needed to propel your car around. Reduce your load and only take what you need with you.
Use your aircon – but only for a little bit

It seems counter-intuitive, but opening your windows to cool the car down is actually less fuel efficient than using the air-conditioning because it creates drag, the AA says.

Take care of your car

Regular services and tune-ups could reduce your fuel consumption by up to four per cent, the MTA says. The AA puts the numbers even higher, at 10 to 20 per cent.

Drive smoothly

Don’t accelerate aggressively, as this uses more fuel than necessary. Smooth starts and stops help conserve petrol.

The simplest way to cut down on petrol costs is to drive less

Short trips to the dairy don’t need to be done in the car, and the AA estimates a third of trips in New Zealand are less than 2km long. Starting your car from cold uses more fuel, so it’s more efficient to run all your errands at once if possible. — NZME