Filling up my car with fuel costs about $75 at current prices. Ouch.
The alternative is to walk 600km. When I think about it that way, I am reminded that petrol is AWESOME value.
But petrol soaks up a considerable chunk of so many families’ weekly budgets. Some families, running two cars, spend more than $200 a week on fuel.
There are easy savings to be made.
We run 10 cylinders in our household. Currently, coincidentally, every cylinder is a Holden. There’s a four-cylinder sedan and a six-cylinder station wagon. Like so many families, we have no choice but to run two cars. Two working parents, school and crèche pickups and drop-offs are daily. Thankfully, to date, weekend sports have been at the end of the street. But the eldest starts his first season of footy soon – the start of a dozen years of weekend taxi driving. When we go away as a family, we take the “little” car away with us, whenever possible. Why? Because it has two less cylinders. It uses about 30 per cent less fuel. We’ll use it around town as much as we can. Every dollar is important.
There are plenty of things that you can do to reduce transport costs. Walking or riding a bike … um, sure. Taking public transport occasionally? Yeah, that will work too. But they’re not always feasible.
Blindly overpaying for petrol? You know, filling up in the morning … then seeing it 12c a litre cheaper in the afternoon? That’s just cost you $6 or $7. D’oh! That’s as annoying as paying unnecessary bank fees.
Using fuel dockets from the major supermarkets can save you a few bucks.
Another way to save money on fuel is to spend a few minutes a week learning the local fuel price cycle. It’s not hard. In virtually every area, fuel prices go through cycles. As a broad rule, fuel prices will be lower earlier in the week, when people aren’t buying, then get more expensive later in the week. Once you’ve discovered the “cycle” in your area, small behavioural changes can make big ongoing savings. Or you might just need to fill up NOW and want to know where the cheapest fuel is in your area.
In either case, saving money on your fuel is now just a few clicks away.
Check out www.comparethemarket.com.au, try out the easy-to-use fuel comparison tool. Simply punch in your postcode and before you know it you’ll be shown a list of petrol stations in the surrounding suburbs. Just 10 seconds effort every few days can show you where the cheap petrol is, or when the discounting is happening. Then you just have to decide how far out of your way you’re prepared to go. It’s rarely going to be worth driving an extra 5km for cheap fuel. But shorter distances for good savings could be worth it. You can chop the family’s weekly fuel bill by $10-15 potentially, by making sure you fill up on the right days.