Top 6 Tips to Save on Fuel

It’s always been a good idea to try to save a bit of cash when filling up, but now it’s more important than ever.
Last modified: 24th June 2024
Hope Turner  |  

With fuel prices recently reaching all-time highs in parts of Australia, it’s hard to believe we ever paid less than 200 cents per litre (cpl) at the bowser. In March 2024, the price of fuel reached an eye-watering average of 206.2 cpl across the capital cities, and it could still go higher.

Below are some of our top tips to save money on fuel.

Originally published by Jemima Kelly in August 2022.

On this page:

  • Why is fuel so expensive at the moment?
  • Tip #1: Download fuel comparison apps
  • Tip #2: Monitor petrol price cycles
  • Tip #3: Consider carpooling
  • Tip #4: Catch public transport if you can
  • Tip #5: Set the correct tyre pressure
  • Tip #6: Opt for E10

Why is fuel so expensive at the moment? 

As Australian fuel prices are heavily dependent on global prices, shifts in global economic conditions will generally affect the cost of petrol here. With the Australian Dollar still being low, the prices remain high. One of the main current events affecting the global economy is Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as high overall production costs. 

According to the latest Transport Affordability Index, the average household spends around $100 per week on petrol, an increase of nearly $43 compared to 2016.

Tips to save on fuel

1. Download fuel comparison apps 

One of the simplest and most effective ways to save money on petrol is by downloading comparison and petrol provider apps. In 2018, the NSW Government was the first to make it law for service stations in the state to keep their fuel prices up to date through the NSW FuelCheck app. It was also extended to ACT in late 2022. Could this be the way of the future in all Aussie states? We think so!

Here are some other well-known fuel comparison and tracking apps you can use:

  • PetrolSpy
  • Motor Mouth
  • Simples: Compare & Save
  • Fuel Map
  • RACT Fuel Saver 
  • RACQ Fuel Finder 
  • My RAA 
  • Refueler 
  • My 7-eleven

My 7-Eleven has also implemented the ability to track fuel prices and lock in the best price in your area! This can be a great help when you can feel the price is about to go up, as it locks that price for seven days!

2. Monitor petrol price cycles

Speaking of locking in prices, by tracking fuel prices with some of the apps above, you’ll notice that prices rise and fall constantly, even when prices are rising overall. This is because petrol prices move in regular cycles called peaks (when prices are high) and troughs (when prices are low). In a trough, prices will steadily fall before sharply increasing again. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has detailed information on how these price cycles work. The peaks and troughs are based on several different factors and will differ in every city. 

By keeping a close eye on the cycles and filling up in the troughs rather than the peaks, you may just find yourself saving a bit of cash.

3. Consider carpooling

Carpooling with friends, family, or even a co-worker could be your ticket to saving big bucks on petrol. Make a pact with your workmate, tell your housemate, “The next round is on me,” enjoy some bonding time, and save money by making trips together instead of separately. 

While it’s not always an option for some, you could save twice the fuel by splitting the cost. If you don’t know anyone you can carpool with, there are smartphone apps that can match you with a similar commuter. 

Want to see more savings tips?

4. Catch public transport if you can 

Not only does public transport save you on fuel, it’s also better for the environment as it’s much more energy efficient than one person driving one vehicle. 

Bring a book, listen to some music, have a nap, and bask in the joy of saving money on fuel; there are so many ways to make your public transport trip enjoyable. If the public transport near you isn’t great, see if you can drive or ride to a nearby bus or train station and park there instead.

Check out Australia’s various Journey Planners below to find the public transport option that suits you.

5. Set the correct tyre pressure 

As your tyres are holding the entire weight of your vehicle, it’s important to keep the air pressure at the correct level. 

According to Tyrepower, every 1% decrease in tyre pressure correlated to a 0.3% reduction in fuel economy. This means that under-inflation of the tyre by 10% increases fuel consumption by 2%. To set the correct tyre pressure, head to any petrol station where you can check the air pressure and fill your tyres if need be. 

Filling up your tyres only takes a few minutes and could lead to significant fuel savings.

Speaking of tyres…

6. Opt for E10 

E10 petrol is an option at most petrol stations and contains 90% unleaded and 10% ethanol. Because of the nature of the fuel type, you are more likely to get a bit farther with a tank of UL91 or above rather than E10. However, E10 could be significantly cheaper than 91. Experts say that if E10 is more than 4 cents cheaper than ULP91, it’s better to opt for E10 and bite the bullet of the smaller range. 

Only fill up on E10 if your car is compatible. To find out, check the inside of the fuel cap for a sticker, read through the user manual, or contact the manufacturer.

A Final Note

It seems like the days when we could get fuel as low as 90 cpl are well behind us. Fuel prices continue to be a hefty strain on household budgets, and filling up a 50-litre tank at the average of 206.2 cpl will cost over $100! 

However, shopping around and following the tips above could really help with the ever-rising costs. Saving 40cpl by filling before the next surge will save you $20 for a 50l tank!

Written by - Hope Turner

Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Hope is Jacaranda’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator. With several years of copywriting experience specialising in Social Media content, she is responsible for writing and updating website content and articles, updating social media, and everything in between!

You can get in touch with Hope via hopet@jacarandafinance.com.au.
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