Christmas has come earlier for some motorists after a misplaced decimal point saw the petrol price drop to 17 cents per litre.

Gull petrol stations around the country dropped fuel prices by 10 cents a litre yesterday, for a period of 12 hours, in celebration of the long weekend.

But, the excitement proved all too much for staff at Gull on Chapel St in Masterton, who accidentally dropped the price of regular 91 petrol to 17 cents per litre instead of $1.71.

Gull pricing analyst Rohan Mehta said the error lasted for about 25 minutes on Thursday morning, in which time eight customers drove away with a bargain.


"This was a bit of an 'oops' moment on the part of our franchisee but it was one of the better mistakes. At least this brought a smile to a few faces," Mehta said.

Mehta said the company honoured the price shown at the pump despite it being a mistake.

"If it's an error on our part we just charge [what is advertised]."

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's consumer protection website, in most cases, if a price is advertised or displayed incorrectly at a substantially lower price, a trader doesn't have to sell products at that price.

Gull has promised to not increase current fuel prices over Labour Weekend.

"Increasing prices on a Friday afternoon goes against Gull's philosophy of value to the motorist," said Mehta.

"This is the time that most Kiwi motorists are filling their vehicles for the much-awaited long weekend and increasing prices at this time takes advantage of a captive market."