The Petrol Hacks You Should Be Using to Fill Up on the Cheap

petrolspy cheap fuel near me australia

You don’t need us to tell you that petrol prices are basically extortion right now. The national average is roughly 35% higher than what it was last year, and everyone’s looking for ways to cut costs.

That could be in the form of electric vehicles, getting public transport, or just never leaving your home. But if you’re stuck having to make regular trips using your thirsty combustion engine, there are ways you can minimise those expenditures.

Fuel prices reached an all-time high in April following the war in Ukraine and have since been compounded by other global pressures like the looming threat of recession plus the COVID-affected breakdown of transport and international shipping.

While the government did address the issue by cutting fuel duty by 20c, that fix is temporary and will more than likely expire in September, meaning even great fuel costs in a few month’s time. On top of this, those global pressures haven’t exactly been remedied, although they have eased up slightly.

Thankfully, there are a tonne of great apps, websites, and maps out there that direct you to the nearest, cheapest fuel which you should definitely be utilising if you want to save on your fuel bill. In addition, timing the market, when possible, is another guaranteed way of saving.

Related: When to Get the Cheapest Fuel as Petrol Drops Before Planned September Spike

Related: Australia Doesn’t Buy Petrol From Russia, So Why Are We Paying So Much for Fuel?

Here, we lay out the best hacks you can use to save.

Cheap Fuel Near Me Apps

Fuel apps are great for finding out who’s got the cheapest fuel in your local area. There’s nothing worse than filling up only to find much cheaper fuel down the road.

These apps work best of course in metropolitan cities where there’s a lot of competition. Research from Canstar has found that prices can fluctuate as much as 13.2c per litre in the same government area, so it pays to do your research.

Most states and territories have their own fuel comparison sites and apps. You can check out FuelCheck in NSW, FuelChek in TAS, FuelWatch in WA, and MyFuel NT. These last two however are not available as an app. Queensland and South Australia also legislate petrol retailers but don’t run their own platforms. Instead, they share information on prices with third parties.

These third-party apps are also great, the most notable of these being Petrol Spy. This one is available on desktop as well as an app and functions right across the whole country, although data is more limited in very remote areas, and less accurate in the ACT and Victoria since these governments don’t require stations to share their prices.

Petrol Spy draws on reported pricing from retailers as well as customer submissions. It’s the most accurate third-party app, according to CHOICE. Others, like MotorMouth and GasBuddy rely on customers submitting information to the app, so they’re generally better for states that don’t mandate reporting of fuel prices, however, they can be less accurate overall.

With these last two, there are incentives for finding and reporting petrol prices, so they can be a bit of fun in their own right.

Refueler is another great one that gives you the option to lock in prices for fuel and pay in advance when you see a bargain.

There are other third-party apps as well from organisations like the NRMA and the RACQ which give weekly updates on petrol pricing.

Fuel Discounts

While fuel discounts can seem small, every little helps and consistent use tends to really add up overall.

Supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths offer 4c discounts per litre when you spend $30 or more on your shopping which can then be used at Shell Coles Express stations or at Ampol, for Woolies. Coles Express then also offers an additional 10c off per litre when you spend $20 or more at the service station, although this isn’t worth doing unless you were going to buy something anyway.

The NRMA and the RACQ offer similar discounts at certain retailers for members which you can redeem by sharing your member card at the till.

There are also dedicated credit cards run by fuel retailers which can help you save money, however, these are really only useful for businesses that spend a lot on fuel.

Petrol Price Cycle in Australia

Petrol prices in Australia cycle through peaks and troughs in terms of cost. This isn’t a government thing and nor is it connected to the wholesale price; it’s simply the way that service stations price their fuel.

If you can hold off, or fill up your vehicle entirely at the low point of a price cycle, you can make decent savings.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission monitors these price cycles and certain apps, like PetrolSpy, will also give you information on where you are in a price cycle.

Cycles tend to last between two to five weeks. Currently, we’re at a low point but the ACCC is advising that prices are expected to drop further. They show the changing average of price for most major cities and you can find all the information you need on their website.

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