Motorists are sure to feel the sting of petrol prices today as regular petrol creeps over $2.40 a litre in some areas.

Many fuel stations across the South Island are charging above $2.40 a litre for 91 petrol and the pricey figure of $2.469 has also been seen at a station in the capital.

The key players are pointing to the exchange rate, taxes and levies as driving the hike.

A BP spokeswoman said ongoing pressure had forced them to increase prices by 2 cents per litre at all BP Connect sites nationwide this week.


"We are sensitive to the impact changes in fuel prices have on our customers and we review prices on a daily basis to ensure we are as competitive as possible."

Today, BP had 91 priced at $2.409.

A Z Energy spokeswoman said the latest change to the price at Z was due to high barrel price (over US$80) and a low Kiwi dollar (66 cents).

The cheapest pricepoint on Z Energy 91 across the country was at Whakatāne at $2.059 per litre, while the most expensive was at Z Energy Queenstown at $2.479, she said.

Gull price analyst Rohan Mehta spoke to the Herald about how its company operated network was pricing 91 today, while stressing that he could not speak for the 24 independent Gull sites.

"We have not lifted our prices across any of our company operated retail network – as always, we rely heavily on optimism and do not see the need to raise prices in the event of global oil price increase almost instantly," Mehta said.

The highest priced Gull sites across the country are around Auckland, which have reached these highs again due to the regional fuel tax which came into effect in July, Mehta said.

"In saying that these sites still sit comfortably around 9 cents below the highest recorded price as per today."

The newest Gull site in Glen Eden was offering the cheapest prices across the company's Auckland network selling regular 91 for $2.177 per litre, Mehta said.


But the lowest priced 91 Gull was offering was at $1.977 per litre – well below the $2.00 per litre mark, he said.

That was the price tag for motorists pumping fuel at the small village of Atiamuri, just north of Taupo.

Andrew McNaught, Lead Country Manager for Mobil, said a number of factors drove price, including product costs, exchange rates, excise duties and taxes, transportation, retailing costs and local market competition.

"Setting retail prices is thus a balancing act between the immediate effects and influences of the market versus the longer-term outlook for our business and the industry," McNaught said.

"The recent changes in Mobil's retail fuel prices have been driven predominantly by a combination of increased product costs and fluctuating exchange rates, though they are still influenced by the other factors previously mentioned."

A regional fuel tax was introduced on July 1 and generated $13.2 million in its first month of operation – that was $700,000 more than initial estimates.

The price of diesel has soared to $1.809 in some South Island locations.

Next month a 3.5c a litre excise tax will be added nationwide. Including GST, the increase is expected to see 4c a litre added to petrol prices across the country.

Earlier this month the Herald spoke to motor industry representatives who said high fuel prices were pushing Kiwis into smaller cars, creating waiting lists for sought-after models.

A Volkswagen floor salesperson told the Herald demand for the VW Polo had been so high recently that buyers face waiting until November to get their preferred colour as petrol price rises begin to bite.

This matches up with data from Motor Industry Association (MIA), which shows that VW Polo sales have doubled in three of the past four months.

MIA chief executive David Crawford said that while there has been the odd month of Polo sales exceeding 60 vehicles, dating back to 2015, there has been a clear spike in demand for the vehicle under current market conditions.

VW chief executive Tom Ruddenklau confirmed that there was currently a waiting period of around three or four weeks for a VW Polo.

He said vehicle orders were made well in advance and that it's sometimes difficult to anticipate how the market might change over a 12-month period.

He puts the high level of demand down to the Polo's fuel efficiency, and the fact that it is relatively spacious for a hatchback.

The VW Polo is often listed alongside its category competitors the Honda Jazz, Suzuki Swift and Toyota Yaris as one of the most fuel-efficient petrol engines on the road in New Zealand.