If you’re on the hunt for cheap petrol, this is officially the day of the week you should be filling up your tank.
The price of petrol is a hot topic of conversation these days.
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As the cost of living pressures continue to push households well outside their financial comfort zone, being able to save a few bucks at the bowser can make a significant difference to the weekly budget.
So when, and how, can you buy cheap petrol in Australia?
What is a petrol price cycle?
First, it’s worth knowing that petrol prices move up and down in regular patterns across Australia’s cities – usually steadily decreasing for a period, before undergoing a sharp increase.
This pattern is known as a petrol price cycle, which is the result of pricing policies among petrol retailers, not changes in the wholesale cost of fuel, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission explains.
“In 2022 the average duration of price cycles in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane was around five weeks, and in Adelaide it was just over two weeks. Perth currently has regular weekly price cycles,” the ACCC states.
That’s why attempting to time your trip to the petrol station with the days when prices are in the lowest part of the cycle is an easy way to reduce your fuel costs.
What’s the cheapest day to buy petrol?
Given not all retailers observe the price cycle and prices vary greatly between cities and states, it’s best to use historical price data to help decide which day petrol might be cheaper near you.
Based on historical pricing data, the ACCC says the magic day of the week is Wednesday for buying cheaper petrol in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Additionally, the ACCC website explains that bigger petrol stations that are part of a chain are usually the first to mark up their prices since they suffer the biggest losses from marking down their costs.
This is because when they mark their prices low, these petrol stations are sometimes selling below the wholesale price.
How to find cheap petrol near you
Of course, experts can’t make long-term predictions on the price of petrol based on historical data alone – and drivers can’t always dash to a petrol station when prices drop.
As such, when the price cycle is higher, drivers should use fuel price apps and websites to shop around for lower prices near them.
That’s where petrol-saving apps like Simples come into their own, because they can pinpoint the cheapest petrol near you with real-time tracking to ensure annual petrol savings regardless of inconsistent trends.
Websites like these list the cheapest fuel at any point in time, pointing out that the savings can be significant.
WA motorists, for example, could save up to 30 cents per litre on any given day, equating to an $18 saving when filling up a 60-litre tank.
So make sure you take the time to pull over, check the cheapest fuel in your local area based on the live data, and save.
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