Auckland drivers are likely to pay about 15c a litre more at the petrol pump in the coming weeks with a double whammy from Auckland Council and the Government.

The council's regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre is due to come into effect on July 1.

Weeks later, the Government looks set to increase the fuel excise tax nationwide by between 3c a litre and 4c.

Papers released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show the Government intends to increase the fuel excise tax on September 1.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has flagged increases of between 3c a litre and 4c for each of the next three years to fund transport plans such as light rail from the CBD to the airport.


A spokesman for Twyford today said the tax is part of a draft 10-year transport plan due to finalised shortly.

Asked if the Government tax would come into effect on September 1, the spokesman said motorists would have to wait for the announcement on the final plan.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford.

The draft plan shows the Labour-led Government plans slightly bigger increases in annual fuel tax hikes from the National-led Government, which raised the fuel tax by 3c five times and 2c once during its nine years in office.

Aucklanders have been warned to expect long queues at the pumps this week as motorists rush to fill up before the Regional Fuels Tax legislation comes into effect on Sunday.

The final reading of the Regional Fuels Tax bill is expected to be passed in Parliament today.

Gull general manager Dave Bodger believes the regional fuel tax will result in motorists rushing to the pumps this week.

"Unfortunately, a legislated increase of this magnitude will be passed on to motorists, and we apologise in advance for expected queues at the pump in the days prior," Bodger said.

Bodger also weighed in on the debate about the fuel tax, calling it a "hurried" move that will affect both consumers and businesses.

"It is not acceptable that businesses that rely on fuel such as commercial vessels, market gardeners, subdivision and roading developers do not know yet if they qualify for an 'off road' rebate for the tax or how they may process it," he said.


Bodger also suggested that the new legislation might run into problems down the line.

"Unfortunately this could be a mess that business must tidy up following the hurried legislation.

"My concern is that business will have to wear a major cost increase until matters are rectified. Uncertainty and greater costs could potentially be passed on to consumers, which is not a great state of affairs."

Tips for reducing fuel consumption:

1. Make sure your tyres are pumped correctly

The Automobile Association (AA) has found incorrect tyre pressure uses nearly 8 per cent more petrol than having them pumped the correct amount.

2. Try to avoid rush hour


Idling for long periods and constant stopping and starting uses more fuel than a smooth run from A to B. The AA says turning your engine off if you're stuck in traffic for longer than 30 seconds is better than keeping the car running, and the MTA recommends planning ahead to run errands during off-peak times.

3. Don't speed

According to the MTA, fuel consumption increases by about 6 per cent for every 10km/h faster you go over 90km/h. For most drivers, 100km/h is a good compromise between travel time and fuel economy.

4. Keep your load light

A bag of golf clubs in the boot or a pair of bikes making an unnecessary trip to the supermarket on the roof rack mean more petrol is needed to propel your car around, the AA says. Reduce your load and only take what you need with you.

5. Use your aircon - but only for a little bit


It seems counterintuitive, but opening your windows to cool the car down is actually less fuel efficient than using the air conditioning because it creates drag, the AA says. However, blasting the A/C or leaving the back window demister on after they've done their job is an unnecessary drain on fuel.

6. Take care of your car

Regular services and tune-ups could reduce your fuel consumption by up to 4 per cent, the MTA says. The AA puts the numbers even higher, saying a well-maintained car can use 10 to 20 per cent less fuel than one that's badly looked after.

7. Drive smoothly

Don't accelerate aggressively, as this uses more fuel than necessary. Smooth starts and stops help conserve petrol.

8. The simplest way to cut down on petrol costs is to drive less


Short trips to the dairy don't need to be done in the car, and the AA estimates a third of trips in New Zealand are less than 2km long.