If you want to save money on your petrol costs, you need to shop around to find which of your local service stations is the cheapest. And plan ahead to make sure you buy at the cheap time of the week too.
You can search for cheap petrol prices in you area using independent website MotorMouth, which tracks prices from around 3,500 petrol stations across Australia, and updates prices twice daily.
If you register at the site you can get a free daily email alert or sign up for the paid SMS service.
The SMS service costs a minimum of
$4.95, which gets you 20 SMS credits. You'll need to nominate up to
25 service stations in your list of Favourites. When you SMS for a
price, it will send back the details of the six servos on your
Favourites list which have the cheapest current petrol prices.
If you happen to be with Telstra's NextG mobile network however, you have access to this information for free. In the browser menu of Telstra services, select the Travel section and then My Fuel.
MotorMouth covers Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Prices are updated twice a day at around 8.15am (9am on Sunday) and 3pm in the afternoon.
So what kind of savings can you expect? A web search of my postcode turned up 6 local servos, and there was a 5c/L price difference between the cheapest and the most expensive. But the prices can vary a great deal more than that across the city - according to MotorMouth, Sydney's cheapest recorded price for unleaded petrol today was 130.9c, and the highest was 146.9c.
After the jump, we have a couple of tips from MotorMouth for finding cheap petrol prices - including which day is the cheapest for buying petrol.
MotorMouth spokesperson Alan Price says most states (excluding WA) have a 1 week petrol pricing cycle, with price rises of 9-14c/L generally happening on a Wednesday or Thursday. The prices then decrease incrementally over the week. His advice is to refuel on a Tuesday to beat that rise. WA is on a two week pricing cycle - so your best bet is to work out when the price changes occur and time your purchase accordingly.
His other tip is to shop around when you're using petrol dockets from supermarkets. Make sure that the servo you're using is the cheapest. There's no point in saving 4c/L if the petrol station with a docket if the petrol is is 8c more expensive than the servo around the corner!