Finance Consumer Fuel me once: When and where to buy petrol on the long weekend

Fuel me once: When and where to buy petrol on the long weekend

Before heading off for the weekend, Australians should think about the best way to fuel their cars.
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Cabin-feverish Australians will be keen to hit the open road as the country enjoys its first long weekend since travel restrictions were eased.

But as unemployment soars and incomes crash, many will be looking for ways to travel on the cheap.

For drivers, the simplest way to cut costs is by finding the most affordable time and place to fill up the tank.

Depending on where you live, that could mean waiting until after the weekend, or getting in quick.

Fuel prices in the major cities

Petrol prices in Australia’s major cities are dictated by artificial ‘pricing cycles’ created by retailers.

The length of these cycles varies from city to city.

But drivers who get their head around them will always pay bottom dollar to keep the wheels turning.


  • Buying tip: Fill up outside the CBD.

The Sunshine State can be a great place for drivers, with countless must-see destinations located only hours outside the CBD.

But this weekend things are less than ideal, with fuel hovering at the top of its price cycle.

There are still ways to cut costs, though.

NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury told The New Daily drivers leaving Brisbane could save money by filling up outside the CBD, where fuel is likely to be more affordable.


  • Buying tip: Fill up in the city.

Prices in Sydney are on the rise, so drivers heading off for an adventure along the New South Wales coast or in the Hunter Valley should get in quick.

Mr Khoury cautioned prices “are too high” in the country’s most populated city, but drivers will still get a better price in the CBD than they’ll find once they leave.

“A third of the service stations in Sydney are below a dollar, even though the average isn’t,” Mr Khoury said.

“There were a few stations [whose prices] went up when they should have gone down, so our average should be below a dollar, but instead it’s $1.03 or $1.04.”


  • Buying tip: Fill up in the city.

Prices in Melbourne are close to the bottom of their cycle, meaning now is a great time to refuel.

Much like in Sydney, Mr Khoury said drivers will most likely be better off filling their tanks in the city before they head off.

“If you’re in the cities and heading out west or to the coast for the weekend, fill up before you go, and do your research,” he said.


  • Buying tip: Get in quickly.

Drivers in South Australia are fortunate to be within striking range of the country’s most revered wineries.

And in a stroke of good fortune, they can drive to those wineries (or scenic Hahndorf, perhaps) on the cheap this weekend.

“Adelaide is really good. It’s below a dollar,” Mr Khoury told The New Daily.

The ACCC’s advice is roughly the same: Now is a good time to fill up.


  • Buying tip: Wait until Tuesday.

Western Australia’s main hub is actually closer to Singapore than it is to the nearest major city, Adelaide, so travelling vast distances is par for the course for locals.

Perth has a unique pricing cycle that lasts only one week and always finishes on the same day, so drivers can always expect to pay the lowest price for petrol on a Tuesday.

The cycle then resets on Wednesdays, spiking to a weekly high before steadily working its way back down. 

As a result, the best time for drivers in Perth to refill is after the weekend, when the Tuesday low point rolls around again.

But if Tuesday’s not an option, the longer you can wait, the more money you’ll save.