Top money waster no. 2. Buying at the top of the petrol price cycle.

At Blue Toro Mobile Mechanics we’re always trying to think of ways to save money in the operation of our vehicles without compromising performance or safety and, when discovering a new strategy, we want to share it with our customers too. We’ve come up with plenty over the years, posted many of them on the Ask Elvio Blog, and found that by following these recommendations our customers have been able to save hundreds of dollars per year. One tip that’s been very well-received and utilised with great success is the refuelling of vehicles at advantageous points in the petrol price cycle.

There’s no denying that the cost of petrol is high and it doesn’t look like it’s coming down too much anytime soon. While it’s best to just consider the cost as part of the expense of driving a car, there’s no reason not to do what we can to save some money in this area when possible. The fact that petrol prices go up and down within somewhat predictable cycles here in Australia can be used to one’s advantage when you realise: #1 that this cycle exists and, #2 which days are typically high-priced so they can be avoided. You also want to know what days petrol is typically at its lowest so you can fill up on those days and save.

PETROL PRICE CYCLE STUDIES

During 2012, Professor Abbas Valadkhani, an economist at the University of New England in NSW, conducted a detailed study based on data collected over a seven-year period from 114 locations in Australia. The topic of the study was the petrol price cycle and it represented the most comprehensive one ever completed on the subject. When the data was finally compiled, a variety of conclusions were made, including:

Petrol prices peak at the end of the work week, on Thursday and Friday, in 90% of the locations studied.
Although customer demand typically peaked on Thursdays and Fridays, not one single location out of the 114 studied had a Thursday or Friday as a day when petrol was cheapest to buy.

In about 65% of the locations, Tuesdays represented the cheapest day to purchase fuel. Sundays were best in about 20%.

Sixteen locations were identified as being places where potential savings were “significant,” including Sydney. All 16 locations are either state capitals or major urban centres.

Drivers filling up a family-sized car on a weekly basis could save an average of about $200 per year by purchasing petrol only on the cheapest days in the petrol price cycle.

OTHER EXPERTS AGREE

The ACCC has found that in the Sydney Metropolitan Area, Thursday is typically the most expensive day of the week to buy petrol. Although the difference may only be a few cents per litre, over a year’s time these cents can add up to a significant amount. The Australian Automobile Association concurs and recommends to their members that they become aware of price peaks within the cycle and avoid purchasing fuel on those days. In Sydney, specifically, high-price days in the cycle are typically on Thursdays and Saturdays – good days to avoid the bowser. Sydney’s lowest-priced days for fuelling up have been shown to be Wednesday and Friday.

I hope our Sydney-area clients will keep this petrol price information in mind and start filling up on Wednesdays/Fridays, even if your tank isn’t empty. You’re also invited to click here for advice about other areas where you can save money each month by simply incorporating a few tips and tricks.

For more car care tips visit our Ask Elvio blog at Blue Toro Mobile Mechanics.

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Elvio is a seasoned Motor Mechanic with 25 years experience in the automotive industry. Well-known for asking the most obvious questions and his bizarre obsession with Datsuns (having owned more than 10), he seems to think the 70s was the golden era of motoring. Current rumours suggest he owns more than 100 caps, prefers Belgium bier to Australian and has been confused with the real Speedy Gonzalez. Well-known at the racetrack for getting maximum performance on a budget and his obsessive attention to detail, he is now taking his passion for all things with an engine to help his customers in his blog. Ask Elvio.