Record-high petrol prices could be contributing to a change in clientele at thrift stores, a community worker says.
The cost of fuel reached a national average of $2.23 per litre this week - its highest level since May 2011 when it peaked at $2.22.
Sue Simons, manager of the Salvation Army Family Store, told the Wanganui Chronicle rising living costs had resulted in a wider customer base for the store.
"Food prices are up and we've seen a shift of people coming into the store - and they've probably never been into a second-hand shop before. I'm sure the petrol prices have something to do with it," she said.
AA spokesman Mark Stockdale has warned the record high prices are likely to get even steeper.
There were various reasons for the latest price hike, including increased taxes and import fuel costs, he said.
"What we're facing - among a lot of things - is inflationary cost increases.
"Wages have increased and transport costs have increased. And therefore, it costs more to ship fuel and truck fuel."
Mr Stockdale said fuel companies were also partly to blame for the prices.
"They are passing the costs on, but also they are making more money. The amount they earn now is higher than a few years ago."
He recommended motorists regularly maintain their cars and drive in a fuel-efficient manner to ensure they get the most from their money.
"For many people, they don't have a choice - they need their cars.
"So they will have to cut back in other areas and make sure they think about how they are driving."
People should pump up their tyres at least once a month and plan trips, so they use one run to do several things.
Motorists in the regional centres had a better chance at saving on fuel than their big-city counterparts, he said.
Because of regional competition among some stations, prices in rural areas could be lower.
Several stations in Rotorua were offering prices below the $2 a litre mark this week.
Five Tips to Save Petrol:
Regular maintenance checks: Checking your tyre pressure at least once a month can save you up to 18 cents a litre on fuel.
Lighten the load: Give your car an early spring clean and remove all unnecessary objects. A heavier vehicle has to work harder and will use more fuel.
Drive smoothly: Go easy on the accelerator and brake pedals. This will not only save fuel but is also better for your car in the long run.
Watch your air con: Air conditioning is more fuel efficient than having your windows down, as this creates drag. But don't overdo it, as it can use up to 8 per cent more petrol.
Turn it off: As a rule, you should turn your engine off if you're standing still for more than 30 seconds. Also, avoid peak hour traffic.
Source: Automobile Association