Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Fuel deals key lure for motorists

Price more important than convenience for most Kiwis, survey finds on eve of petrol tax increase.

There many ways motorists can be more fuel efficient. Photo / APN
There many ways motorists can be more fuel efficient. Photo / APN

Petrol price is driving people to service stations that offer discounts or savings schemes - and more commuters are taking public transport and reconsidering their current vehicles, a survey reveals.

Canstar Blue's annual Service Stations Consumer Satisfaction Survey of 2500 Kiwis found that 79 per cent of people go to a service station because of its discount or price promotions and 64 per cent said price was more important than convenience.

More than half of respondents did not understand the factors that contributed to petrol prices and 41 per cent said they used their car less than they did a year ago.

A quarter were also considering buying a different model of car or switching to a lower fuel consumption vehicle such as a motorbike or scooter.

Automobile Association Petrolwatch manager Mark Stockdale said the findings were in line with what he had observed - that consumers would become increasingly more savvy to battle increasing fuel prices.

"It is not surprising that motorists are sensitive to fuel prices and that they will look for opportunities to reduce their fuel costs such as looking around for service stations that are discounting fuel or offer discount schemes, or even looking to buy more fuel-efficient cars," he said.

"The price of fuel that we are now paying is at near record prices."

Petrol prices are expected to rise 3 cents a litre today after a government excise hike that petrol stations indicated they would pass on to customers.

Canstar's New Zealand general manager Derek Bonar said motorists were using a variety of ways to accommodate the increases.

"There's no doubt that high prices are hitting motorists' wallets hard."

Making the most of discount schemes and being picky about which petrol station they used was common, but it seemed public transport use was on the rise - especially in Auckland where 32 per cent said their use of the services has increased compared to the 19 per cent average of respondents across the country.

Mr Stockdale said there many ways motorists could be more fuel efficient.

"The number one thing that motorists can do to cut their costs without having to change their car or lifestyle is simply to drive in a more efficient manner."

Tips included accelerating smoothly, maintaining a constant speed, regular servicing, laying off the air conditioning, not leaving heavy items in your boot and using the car's momentum to navigate hills.

Of the 2240 respondents who had refuelled at a service station in the last month, they rated the service stations from price, service, appearance, facilities, other consumables and overall satisfaction.

Challenge took the top spot overall, beating previous winner Z Energy.

Gas station satisfaction
79% go to a particular service station because of discount schemes or price promotions
41% use their car less than a year ago
19% use more public transport than a year ago
64% said price was more important that convenience when looking to refuel
25% considering buying a different car or switching to a motorbike or scooter to save on petrol
Source: 2014 Canstar Blue Service Stations Consumer Satisfaction Survey

- NZ Herald

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