By Jane Woodhams
Published: Friday, January 12, 2018
Updated: October 1, 2019 at 2:37 pm
It used to be a pretty safe bet that petrol prices would go down (and the queue at service stations would go up) on a Tuesday.
That predictable cheap day is now a thing of the past, but fuel costs still peak in a regular pattern and there are plenty of tricks to help you keep more of your hard-earned cash in your wallet.
In fact, Adelaide drivers could collectively save up to $55 million a year if they filled up when bowser prices were low, according to a recent report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
For a motorist filling up an average car like a Corolla or Mazda 3, RAA experts say you could save about $168 a year by avoiding peak prices.
So how exactly do you do that? We’ve chatted to our motoring experts to get their top tips.
1. Get expert tips
The easiest way to hear about low fuel prices is to follow RAA on Twitter. Our experts monitor trends and will update motorists when it looks like the cost will go up or down.
If we think you should hold out for a bit longer to get an even better price, you’ll find that info on our page. When it looks like prices are about to spike, we’ll let you know to make a beeline for the bowser.
If you don’t have Twitter, you can still visit our page for the latest.
One of our latest Tweets:
2. Shop around
It sounds simple, but on a given day, petrol prices can vary by as much as 20 cents per litre at different servos, which can add up to a decent saving.
Each day, we publish the average price in Adelaide and major towns across the state (you can find that info here). This will give you a guide to whether you’re paying too much.
Also check fuel price apps like MotorMouth, PetrolSpy or GasBuddy before getting behind the wheel to help you find the cheapest station nearby.
3. Follow the cycle
Want to follow the price cycle yourself? Here’s a super quick guide to how it works…
Petrol is at its cheapest about 10 to 30 days after a peak. So if you see the cost per litre suddenly jump, try hold out for a week or so when you’ll see lower pump prices start to appear. If you’re running near empty, now’s a good time to do a mini top-up to get you through to the cheapest point in the cycle. However, prices should go down further.
Wait a few more days and prices are likely to drop even more. At that point, fill your tank to the brim before prices suddenly rise again (see graphic below).
RAA also publishes weekly price charts for the avid watcher, which you can find here.
4. Check nearby country towns
Unlike the city, country prices don’t jump up and down too much. So when prices spike in the Adelaide, you’ll actually find cheaper prices in regional areas and vice versa.
If you’re heading out of your local town, check the average price in locations along your route so that you can stop in the cheapest spot along the way.
As prices don’t vary too much, it’s even more important to take advantage of lower costs, as this encourages other servos to potentially lower their pump price too.
5. Drive smart
Other than waiting for the price to drop, you can save hundreds a year by changing the way you drive.
To make a tank of fuel last that little bit longer, brake and accelerate smoothly, make sure your tyre pressure is at the manufacturer’s recommended level and remove any unnecessary load from your car.
Also make sure you get your car regularly serviced, as this will help it run more efficiently.