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41% of Australians Spending More Than $60 per Week on Fuel, Says Survey 

Aussies feeling the pinch at the pump: survey reveals rising fuel costs force change in driving habits
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
Our authors
 
  Reviewed by 
Bill Tsouvalas

Reviewer

Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Published on March 21st, 2024

Last updated on June 27th, 2024



Fact checked

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Fuel pumps in Australia

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Aussies feeling the pinch at the pump: survey reveals rising fuel costs force change in driving habits

  • 34% of Australians spending between $31-$60 per week on petrol
  • 21% spending between $61-$90, 12% spending between $91-$120
  • 43% say they will “drive less” to mitigate fuel price increases
  • 37% say they will use discount apps; 26% say they will switch to public transport

Fuel prices in Australia

A nationally representative survey commissioned by Savvy at the end of 2023 has shown that a little over a third (34%) of Australian adults (n=1,000) are spending between $31-$60 on fuel for their vehicles, per week. 

21% said they were spending between $61-$90; 13% said they were spending between $91-$120. 6% were spending between $121-$160, with 16% saying they’re spending between $1 and $30. 

10% of those surveyed did not own a vehicle. 

The national average petrol retail price in 2023 was 189.8c per litre, according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum. This represents a 77.8% increase over the previous high of 148.8c per litre in 2021. The average price in 2022 was 184.2c per litre. 

This may indicate Australians are no longer filling up their tanks each week, with a mere 8% of Australians saying it cost between $31-$60 to fill up their tank when polled in 2022. 

33% said it cost between $61-$90 to fill up their tank, with a further 33% saying it costs between $91-$120. 

From the 5th of February 2024, the fuel excise on petroleum condensate (petrol) and diesel will increase from 0.488c per litre to 0.496c per litre.  

These results can be compared to our earlier surveys and reports on the effects of rising petrol prices on Australians in our 2022 Cost of Living Survey – Petrol, Inflationary pressures and fuel survey, and Petrol prices around Australia report

How much do you usually spend on fuel per week? (by gender)

Male FemaleOther/ Prefer not to sayTotal
Gender breakdown 49949741000
$1 - $3094 (19%)70 (14%)- 164 (16%)
$31 - $60159 (32%)178 (36%)2 (50%)339 (34%)
$61 - $90100 (20%)108 (22%)-208 (21%)
$91 - $120 55 (11%)61 (12%)-116 (12%)
$121 - $16035 (7%)20 (4%)-55 (6%)
$160+ 11 (2%) 8 (2%)- 19 (2%)
I don't have a car / Use public transport45 (9%)-52 (10%)2 (50%)99 (10%)

Savvy's Fuel Spend Survey, 2023-24

How much do you usually spend on fuel per week? (by State & Territory)

Average Petrol Retail PriceNSWVICQLDSAWANTTASACTNational
Totals by state32325120272106722171000
$1 - $3099 (31%)79 (31%)43 (21%)10 (14%)22 (21%)2 (29%)5 (23%)4 (24%)264 (26%)
$31 - $60127 (39%)85 (34%)82 (41%)25 (35%)41 (39%)1 (14%)6 (27%)3 (18%)370 (37%)
$61 - $90129 (40%)107 (43%)94 (47%)36 (50%)43 (41%) 4 (57%)9 (41%)4 (24%)426 (43%)
$91 - $120126.8126.0119.7126.7126.1134.7129.9125.362 (6%)
$121 - $160126.8126.0120.3126.1127.0136.8129.5125.4218 (22%)
$160+143.8143.4136.7143.1143.3154.8149.3142.448 (5%)

Savvy's Fuel Spend Survey, 2023-24

Discounts at the bowser or the bus stop 

When asked what Australians would do if fuel prices stay at these record highs or even increase, 43% said they would drive less, 37% said they would look for discount outlets using apps, and 26% said they would use public transport more frequently. 

22% said they would absorb the increase. These sentiments were almost equal among men and women. 46% of 18-24s said they would use public transport more often, compared with only 19% of 35-44s, who may have small children who rely upon mum and dad to drive them to after-school activities. 

7% said they would consider purchasing an electric vehicle (7% of men, 6% of women.) 

Fuel costs are on the rise according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum – and with fuel excise set to jump, it will just add further to already high prices. So how can you make the most of your fuel spend – and  

How to find cheaper fuel 

Every state in Australia bar the ACT and Victoria mandate that petrol stations report their prices to a centralised database every day. These prices are then aggregated by government websites and/or apps, which may bolster their data with crowdsourced information. Some current apps available are: 

  • Fuel Map Australia 
  • Simples: Compare and Save  
  • MotorMouth 
  • PetrolSpy 

One way to save is to “dollar cost average” your fuel top-ups during the lower ends of the petrol price cycle. Petrol prices can cycle weekly (such as in Perth) or take up to five weeks (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane.) This means topping up with a set amount (say, $20) at the same point every week, so you come out ahead over time – i.e., not paying for significantly less fuel during the peak of a cycle and not shelling out a lot of on-hand cash to fill your entire car during a trough of a cycle. 

One way is to top-up your fuel to full (or near enough) when you go below half a tank during a cycle trough; if you go below quarter of a tank at a cycle peak, fill your tank to at least half so you can wait until prices ease to top up completely. 

If fuel prices remain at new highs or continue to increase further, how will you respond? (by gender)

Male FemaleOther/ Prefer not to sayTotal
Gender breakdown 49949741000
Use public transport more frequently 143 (29%)121 (24%)- 264 (26%)
Look for discount outlets using apps176 (35%)192 (39%)2 (50%)370 (37%)
Change driving behaviour/ drive less214 (43%)212 (43%)-426 (43%)
Car pool 28 (6%)34 (7%)-62 (6%)
Absorb increase / no change113 (23%)103 (21%)2 (50%)218 (22%)
Buy a smaller engine vehicle30 (6%) 18 (4%)- 48 (5%)
Buy an electric vehicle37 (7%)30 (6%)-67 (7%)
Change job or move closer to my workplace19 (4%)33 (7%)-52 (5%)
Use car sharing services10 (2%) 8 (2%)- 18 (2%)
Other51 (10%)32 (6%)2 (50%)85 (8%)

Savvy's Fuel Spend Survey, 2023-24 (Respondents may choose more than one answer) 

If fuel prices remain at new highs or continue to increase further, how will you respond? (by state / territory)

Average Petrol Retail PriceNSWVICQLDSAWANTTASACTNational
Totals by state32325120272106722171000
Use public transport more frequently 99 (31%)79 (31%)43 (21%)10 (14%)22 (21%)2 (29%)5 (23%)4 (24%)264 (26%)
Look for discount outlets using apps127 (39%)85 (34%)82 (41%)25 (35%)41 (39%)1 (14%)6 (27%)3 (18%)370 (37%)
Change driving behaviour/ drive less129 (40%)107 (43%)94 (47%)36 (50%)43 (41%) 4 (57%)9 (41%)4 (24%)426 (43%)
Car pool 126.8126.0119.7126.7126.1134.7129.9125.362 (6%)
Absorb increase / no change126.8126.0120.3126.1127.0136.8129.5125.4218 (22%)
Buy a smaller engine vehicle143.8143.4136.7143.1143.3154.8149.3142.448 (5%)
Buy an electric vehicle120.7121.3117.6120.2119.2128.9124.2120.367 (7%)
Change job or move closer to my workplace125.7125.8127.2125.1127.0134.9132.1126.352 (5%)
Use car sharing services140.9139.8142.2140.3142.0151.3147.0141.218 (2%)
Other141.4140.7145.6141.8143.0157.6150.8144.385 (8%)

Savvy's Fuel Spend Survey, 2023-24 (Respondents may choose more than one answer) 

Other ways to save on fuel 

There are several ways you can save money on fuel costs by making a few maintenance checks or making smarter choices. 

If you are using your cabin or boot as extra storage – don’t! This extra weight means more power is required to start your car from standing. The lighter the load, the less fuel you will consume. 

You should also check your tyre pressure and ensure that your tyres are inflated to their maximum capacity. This can save 2-10% on fuel consumption (especially if they’re significantly lower than the recommended level) if you’re diligent with checking your tyres. 

Some of us delay planned services until it's most convenient. You could increase your range by 4 to 6% by conducting regular scheduled maintenance and switching to low-kinematic viscosity (low weight) oil. 

If you shop at a supermarket that offers fuel discounts – collect your dockets and present them at your local service station if they accept them. Don’t drive out of your way to use the dockets – have them in your car so you may take advantage of them when you’re driving out and about.  

You may also want to consider joining Costco as a member. Costco’s membership program offers discounted fuel outside of the normal price cycle – but you are paying for the privilege, of course. 

Other ideas are to turn off or limit your air conditioning or heating in the cabin; coasting or driving under the speed limit; parking in the shade to stop fuel evaporation; or even downsizing your car for something more fuel efficient or considering switching to hybrid or full electric cars (EVs.) 

Savvy spokesperson, Bill Tsouvalas;

Says that fuel prices are a primary driver of household budget inflation,

“If you’ve driven anywhere in Australia, you see a bumper sticker on the back of semi-trailers – “without trucks, Australia stops.” That also means with any price increase in fuel, that increase will will be passed on in higher prices for most, if not all wholesale and retail goods. Any more pain at the bowser will continue to permeate every facet of Australian economic life, putting more pressure on families and individuals.”

In a similar survey, 62% of Australians cited food security as their greatest cost-of-living concern. 

Savvy's Fuel Spend Survey - 2023-24. n=1000 (M=499, F=497, Other/prefer not to say= 4)

Nationally representative survey of 1000 adult Australians, aged 18 and over. Conducted by Octopus Group, on behalf of Savvy.

Completion date: 01/12/2023

Nationally representative survey of 1000 adult Australians, aged 18 and over. Conducted by Octopus Group, on behalf of Savvy.

Representative of state and territory populations: NSW n=323 (32.3%), Vic n=251 (25.1%), Qld n=202 (20.2%), SA n=72 (7.2%), WA n=106 (10.6%) NT n=7 (0.7%), Tas n=22 (2.2%), ACT n=17 (1.7%)

Sources: 

Australian Institute of Petroleum

petroleum condensate (petrol) and diesel

Additional Savvy Sources:

Fuel - The Biggest Hit to Aussie Pockets as Inflation Rises

46% of Australians Paying Between $91 and $169 on a Tank of Fuel

Petrol Prices Around Australia - 2023 Report

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  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
Our authors
 
  Reviewed by 
Bill Tsouvalas

Reviewer

Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors

Published on March 21st, 2024

Last updated on June 27th, 2024



Fact checked

At Savvy, we are committed to providing accurate information. Our content undergoes a rigorous process of fact-checking before it is published. Learn more about our editorial policy.

This guide provides general information and does not consider your individual needs, finances or objectives. We do not make any recommendation or suggestion about which product is best for you based on your specific situation and we do not compare all companies in the market, or all products offered by all companies. It’s always important to consider whether professional financial, legal or taxation advice is appropriate for you before choosing or purchasing a financial product.

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