It is hard to know if you are getting a real petrol bargain these days.
In Australia fuel discounts work rather simply. To qualify to receive a discount, shoppers must spend a minimum amount on groceries. The usual petrol voucher is for a discount of 4c per litre, however with price wars between the supermarket chains it is becoming increasingly common for double discounts and other offers.
But fuel discounts like shop-a-dockets from major supermarket chains may not actually be saving you money. While this savings may purport to offer you a discount of up to 8c per litre of fuel you buy, Australian motorists may be misled.
While petrol price cycles fuel change in response to the Australian dollar, oil prices and other factors, supermarket chains are accused of having deliberate petrol pricing policies to increase petrol prices regardless.
Recently, research from Australia’s Automobile Association research proved that the profit-driven supermarkets inflate their base, or starting, price for fuel to lessen the hit to their profits. This is pushing up fuel prices for everyone, even people who don’t use the supermarket chain petrol stations.
Use your supermarket dockets with care to ensure you are actually getting a real fuel discount, not just blindly without considering your other options.
To determine if you are getting a real petrol bargain, Australians should:
- Not just assume the best day to get the cheapest fuel is Tuesday. Many motor groups now consider Saturday is the best day for cheap petrol in Australia.
- What out for deliberate pricing policies that make you spend more at the supermarket to get a fuel discount.
- Do not automatically assume any ‘discount’ a supermarket service station gives you will be cheaper than an independent petrol station.
- Remember, the only way any market, including petrol, drops prices is with competition. Sticking with major supermarket chains is one way to ensure that smaller and independent chains are pushed out of business. A loss of competition is a sure fire way for prices to stay high.
- If you are using a petrol discount, make the most of it. Make sure your car is empty of fuel to get the maximum fuel freebie. And keep the discount vouchers in your glove box. They won’t be any help at home when you need petrol!