We have 8-year high petrol prices! Here’s how to save on fuel

a petrol station affected by global increases in the price of petrol

Drivers around the country are letting out a collective groan, as the average price of petrol in Australia seems higher every day. The simple task of filling up your car has suddenly become a major expense as international tensions begin to hit home.

The ACCC’s latest petrol monitoring report reveals that daily average retail petrol prices in all capital cities hit 182.4 cents per litre (cpl) in late-February 2022, which was the highest inflation-adjusted level since 2014. Prices have risen further in the first two weeks of March.

Geopolitical manoeuvring over the supply of oil between the US and Russia has upset the global energy economy and the aftershocks are being felt here in Australia, even at the humble servo. 

At the pump, prices have regularly sat above $1.80/L, as the early-2020 slumps in oil seem like a thing of the distant past. Diesel, Ethanol based and Premium Unleaded petrol have all been feeling the pinch as the latest commodity to feel the pressure of global conflict.

Since January 2022, the price of crude oil has remained steadily above $100 USD/barrel, even reaching historic highs of $120/barrel of crude oil. It usually takes about two weeks for major moves in the oil economy to translate to the buyer, so it's unlikely that prices will stabilise in the near future.

7 day rolling average price for petrol in the five largest australian cities
Source: ACCC

With each day things are becoming gradually more expensive: so check out Mozo’s cost of living guide to see other ways to manage the current economic climate.

How to save on petrol while driving?

While the overall price of petrol has gotten out of hand, it's still possible to look around here and there for a better deal. Some state governments provide a website which lets customers see the current prices in their area, these are available in:

  • Victoria - right now there isn't a state government website for this topic.

Besides scrimping at the supermarket on those receipt coupons, this is one of the best ways to save on petrol. On any given day it's possible you could see a big variation on the prices between local stations - if you can organise a trip so it's worth your while, it may pay off to shop around in your area.

Our second piece of advice is to stop driving around your suburbs like Daniel Ricciardo. Take it a little easier on the accelerator. Pretend you’re on Fiji time and aim to take 5 seconds to reach 40km/h - driving less aggressively can lead to modest but real improvements on fuel economy.

Another good rule of thumb is that if you’ll be stopped for more than 10 seconds, it saves more fuel to turn your engine off than to stay idling. A lot of modern cars have engine start-stop functions for this very reason, but if you drive an older model it could be a good habit to adopt.

If you're a highway commuter, double check that your tires are at the right pressure next time you’re at a service station. While the overall difference may be small, having your tires at the correct pressure can get your car running the way it was intended to.

If you’re looking to save more money overall, why not check out our guide on how to create a budget.