Forget about the cost of housing, tackling the rising cost of living is the first hurdle for many New Zealanders. Rising wages can’t seem to keep up with rising prices of basic living necessities, and the introduction of Auckland’s petrol tax has put added pressure on already stressed budgets. And it’s not just low income households feeling the pinch. Many Aucklanders who rely on their car for getting around the city are having to reevaluate household budgets as additional expenses creep up.
Auckland’s petrol tax
On 1 July 2018, the Regional Fuel Tax (RTF) was introduced for Auckland motorists, as a means to help fund the Auckland Transport Alignment Project, which is set to run from 2018 to 2028. Contributions from the fuel tax are expected to contribute around $1.5 billion over 10 years.
What does this mean for motorists? Well, it sees you spending an additional 11.5 cents per litre every time you fill up your tank in Auckland. Depending on how often you’re filling up, this is a seemingly small amount that could actually add up to big bucks over a year.
Smarter ways to save
For many families, public transport isn’t an option. The nature of their job and the transport responsibilities that come with looking after a family see them rely heavily on their car to get around.
If you’re one of them, you don’t have to just ‘suck it up’. If you’re clever, there are some ways that you can keep your petrol costs down. While it pays to shop around to find the best price in town, that’s not always convenient or time efficient. So, to give you a hand, we’ve hunted down the best ways to save on gas:
FlyBuys: Your FlyBuys card is only valid at Z stations, and will save you 6 cents off a litre – some days there are also extra discounts so it pays to keep an eye out for specials. If you’re working on your points collection, you’ll also receive a ‘point’ for every 20 litres you buy.
AA Smartfuel: This card can only be used at participating BP or Caltex stores, however you can also accumulate points at a range of different partner stores – one of the biggest being Countdown (you can also use your OneCard to earn discounts). With this card, you’ll save 6 cents per litre if you spend more than $40 in these stores, and your cents-per-litre-discount adds up the more you swipe. The upside is that the more you spend at partner stores, the higher the discount you can earn. The downside is trying to remember which stores you can swipe your card in for points – so keep an eye out for any signage that suggests they are a partner store.
Farmlands: Unfortunately, this will only apply if you’ve got a real tractor in the garage, not the Remuera variety. But if you are a farmer and hold a Farmlands account, then you’re eligible for up to 12 cents a litre at Z, Caltex or Challenge as a rebate on your account.
Supermarket dockets: Most of us likely throw receipts in the bin – that’s if we pick them up at all from the supermarket checkout, but it could be worth holding on to those little dockets. New World and Pak N Save offer FuelUp discounts which can be used at participating Mobil stations. The savings do vary, but typically you’ll save up to 6 cents per litre, and you’ll have a month to redeem these savings. Some Pak N Save stores also offer on-site fuel, and you can pick up a voucher with discounts at the checkout, depending on your spend.
Gull Discount days: Hooray – there’s no need to stash cards or dockets in your wallets for this one. All you need to do is keep an eye out for Gull’s Discount Days. You can follow their Facebook page or join their mailing list for announcements so you know when they’re happening. Discounts vary but are typically between 6-12 cents per litre.
The flow-on affect
Of course, commuters aren’t the only ones who are affected by an additional charge. Any business who provides delivery services will also be facing added expenditure – which they may be passing on to you as a consumer to help cover. Be conscious of hikes in delivery fees or additional charges, so you can consider your options before placing orders.
Depending on how often you’re filling up your tank, the additional fuel tax could be making a notable difference to your account balance. Having structure around your spending with a budget and financial goals to focus on can help you stay committed to seeking out savings where you can. If you think you could do with a little guidance, motivation or support, that’s what we’re here for.
SurePlan Financial is a team of experts focused on a holistic financial service. What does ‘holistic’ mean for you? Advice that takes into consideration every aspect of your financial life, connecting the dots from your tax structure, investment planning and legal advice.