It's cheaper to fill up your car using a supermarket voucher than it is to seek out an unmanned petrol station this long weekend.
With many people heading for Labour Weekend road trips of one kind or another, the debate over where to get the cheapest petrol has had another airing.
The average cost of petrol yesterday was $2.12 a litre - but by shopping around it is often possible to get it much cheaper.
Gull stations in Wairarapa and unmanned stations on the Kapiti Coast are usually counted among the cheapest, while one Mobil station in Porirua was selling at $2.05 a litre on Thursday, well below the average.
However, consumer advocate organisation Consumer NZ said earning a supermarket voucher usually worked out cheaper than the unmanned stations.
Research and testing manager Hamish Wilson said unmanned stations were one or two cents cheaper on average.
"If you can get 25 cents off from a supermarket, you're better off," he said. "The AA Card also gives 6 or 8 cents off, which is better than you're likely to get at an unmanned station [too]."
The cheapest fuel in the lower North Island was definitely in Palmerston North and Masterton, so looking to fuel-up there while passing through was a good idea, he said.
However, Mr Wilson himself is better off using his Goldcard discount.
"I spend $40 to $60 a week on groceries and throw away the vouchers," he said. "They aren't worth anything to me . . . [getting the best deal] is really just a matter of keeping your wits about you."
AA senior policy analyst Mark Stockdale said vouchers and unmanned stations were the best bet for a cheap fill-up.
"A big voucher, say, 20 cents or 40 cents [discount], makes a huge difference. You're saving about 15 bucks on a full tank. A 4 cent [discount], you're saving a dollar or so."
It is still unclear whether the outlay on groceries needed to get a voucher ends up costing more than undiscounted fuel would have done.
Mr Stockdale said there were ways to get around it.
"We recommend thinking about doing a double shop [buying for two weeks] so you go over the threshold. Next week your grocery bill will be much lower because you've already bought a lot of stuff."
He also suggested shopping with a neighbour and splitting the costs.
FULL OF GAS
Average fuel prices, Wellington, Thursday and Friday
Gas Alley $2.122
Prices based on 1 litre of 91 Octane. Source: PriceWatch NZ
- © Fairfax NZ News
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