Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Kiwis hit the road for petrol bargains

Survey of service station habits finds young drivers most likely to chase deal.

One in three motorists will drive further to buy cheaper fuel, according to a nationwide survey of our service station habits.

Retail finance researcher Canstar Blue commissioned the survey of 2358 Kiwis and it showed 32 per cent will go out of their way to avoid an expensive tank. It did not ask how much fuel they used in their search for savings.

Young Kiwis are the most willing to chase the best deal - slightly over a third of Gen Ys admitted they ranked price over convenience. A little lower, at 34 per cent, were baby boomers, while Gen X consumers were the most free and easy with their cash.


Only 28 per cent of those born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s will clock up extra kilometres in search of a bargain.

By region, those in Waikato (39 per cent) were most likely to travel for cheap fuel.

Otago motorists were least likely, with just 15 per cent doing so.

The survey also asked respondents to rate their service station for overall satisfaction, appearance, service, value for money, facilities, range of other items.

Z Energy was named the winner, after customers gave it five stars for overall satisfaction. Pak'nSave was last with three stars for overall satisfaction, although the company r

eceived five stars for value for money, compared with Z's three stars in the same category. BP, Caltex, Challenge, Gull and Mobil received four stars for overall satisfaction.

Z corporate communications manager Jonathan Hill said customers had given them a clear directive when the brand was established six years ago that they wanted a "return to service".

As a result, all stations had a "forecourt concierge" between 10am and 5pm every day to help customers. "It's like the good old days. We've put a stick in the ground and that's the return to good old-fashioned service."

Foodstuffs head of external relations Antoinette Laird said Pak'nSave was thrilled to receive five stars for value. Its pumps were all self-service with no indoor stations, which likely explained the low ratings for service, facilities and range.

The survey found 52 per cent of customers monitored fuel prices, 60 per cent of whom identified as baby boomers. And despite their willingness to travel further for the best deal, only 45 per cent of Gen Y motorists kept a close eye on fuel prices, the lowest of the bunch.

Central North Island motorists were the most watchful of prices, at 61 per cent, and Southlanders the least, at 41 per cent.

Half of us spent between $100 and $249 a month on fuel. Just over a third spent less than $100 each month - with Wellingtonians the most likely to enjoy a low spend - and 12 per cent admitted to fuel bills between $250 and $500. A mobile 1 per cent spent more than $500 a month.

Canstar New Zealand general manager Jose George said the survey showed convenience was obviously not a huge factor for Kiwis buying fuel.

- NZ Herald

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