Auckland motorists have been told to brace for another hit over the implementation of the regional fuel tax - with rising courier and taxi fares set to follow the increased price at the pump.

Auckland Council's regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre comes into play tomorrow.

Returns from the levy will go towards the $4.3 billion Auckland Council needs over the next 10 years in order to help pay for projects such as light rail to the airport, public transport and roading.

The fuel tax itself would fund $1.5 billion of this sum over the next 10 years.


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

Petrol stations Auckland-wide are expected to be put under the pump today as the city's motorists fill up for less, while they can.

But long-term, Auckland motorists will have to "suck it up", according to the Automobile Association's Barney Irvine.

Irvine has calculated the tax will cost the average Aucklander an extra $145 a year. Lower socio-economic groups would feel the sting more, he said, being more likely to live further away from work and drive older, less fuel efficient cars.

The impact of the tax would also be felt right across the economy.

"A lot of businesses will be facing increased costs and they will be passing these on to their customers," Irvine said.

"Looking at specific businesses, I'd say that transport companies will be the hardest hit by it."

Auckland-based company Premier Couriers and one of its clients, Ruby Rose Flower Studio, agreed the cost would have to be passed on to customers.

David Riwai, Premier Couriers manager. Photo / Dean Purcell
David Riwai, Premier Couriers manager. Photo / Dean Purcell

Premier manager David Riwai said as fuel was the company's biggest expense it would have a significant impact on operations.

"We've got to the stage that we're no longer able to absorb those costs and we're having to pass them on."

One of Premier's customers, Ruby Rose, was also looking at adjusting its price list, manager Chloe Guthrie said.

"We absorb most of delivery into our prices at the moment but we're probably going to have to look at bumping that up a bit."

Guthrie, whose parents set up Ruby Rose three years ago, said it was the first time the courier company had increased its prices since the family had started doing business with them.

Taxi companies, and their rival Uber, both said the tax would be taken into account when next reviewing pricing models.

"While we take a long-term view when setting prices, if changes are deemed necessary we will notify driver partners and riders prior to anything being implemented," an Uber spokesperson said.

The managing director of the Alert Group, which runs Alert Taxis, said it was "economics 101" that increased costs would eventually hit their customers in the pocket.

While the company was not reviewing pricing as a direct result of the tax, Robert Van Heiningen said it would put a squeeze on profit margins.

Van Heiningen said he had long been watching drivers opt for fuel-efficient vehicles to counteract increasing costs - in five years he predicted most of his fleet would comprise electric cars.

Meanwhile, Aucklander Tori Howell was considering a job change as she weighed up the impact the tax would have on her travel costs long-term.

Auckland Council's regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre comes into play tomorrow. Photo / Nick Reed
Auckland Council's regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre comes into play tomorrow. Photo / Nick Reed

Howell's current commute from Avondale to her job in Māngere at De La Salle College took her 25 minutes if she left at 6.30am - or around an hour if she left later.

The alternative was a trip involving two trains each way, which would eat up three hours of each work day.

"I'm starting to look at work that is a bit closer to where I live," Howell said.

"I'll wait and see how it goes first... but I don't have a lot of free cash."

Three ways to get more bang for your buck at the pump

Shop around

Do the research to check out who has the cheapest fuel in your area. The AA recommends using apps like Gaspy to do the scouting for you.

Take advantage of loyalty discounts

Various outlets offer savings or rewards when you spend over a specific amount, or fill up on a certain day.

Drive to conserve fuel

Accelerate and brake gently and use air conditioning sparingly in order to use fuel more efficiently. Reducing the amount of excess gear in your car can also go a long way.

Source: The Automobile Association.