While the nation's petrol prices rise to record highs of $2.30 per litre, Rotorua motorists are getting more bang for their buck, with three local stations yet to pass the $2 mark.

A survey done today by the Rotorua Daily Post and NZ Herald showed Gull on Te Ngae Rd had the cheapest petrol of those surveyed around the country, at $1.93 per litre.

Eighteen stations were surveyed in Rotorua with Challenge on Malfroy Rd, which is independently owned, and BP on Te Ngae Rd coming in with the second cheapest prices of $1.99 per litre.

Mobil on Te Ngae Rd, also independently owned, came in at $2 per litre.


Mobil Te Ngae Rd owner Matt Ralm said being an independent owner was a big factor in his low prices.

He said the site ran on a high volume business model and was reliant on having a large number of customers to make up for the cheap prices.

"I would say 80 per cent of my customers are loyal to this site. We are definitely one of the cheapest Mobil sites in the country."

The site's success had seen Ralm looking to the future and he said there could be major renovations within the next two years.

"We are starting to see a higher diesel volume being sold, but whenever petrol goes up, diesel goes up the same."

The most expensive diesel in Rotorua was sold at Z Energy on Fairy Springs Rd for $1.55 per litre, while it was cheapest at Challenge on Malfroy Rd for $1.29 per litre, a variance of 26c.

"We have been looking at what is happening in Europe, the changes in the market there and how that works. We have sat down with designers to come up with a plan for the future," Ralm said.

"The market is changing and I am getting ready for it."

Ralm said those changes included more people choosing electric vehicles and he had wired his forecourt to be ready for it.

"I am already looking at how I can accommodate for that down the track.

"On the negative side, we are seeing more petrol drive-offs. We never used to see them, but now the petrol prices are getting higher people don't want to pay for it.

"We are planning for that too."

Mark Stockdale, who runs Petrol Watch for the AA, said Te Ngae Rd was the "ground zero" for the country's fuel price discounting.

"That really kicked off about eight years ago and it has expanded from there, you can see the effects of it across Rotorua and now even across the wider region.

"If I had to pin it down, that would be thanks to Mobil Te Ngae Rd. The fact it's independently owned, that's the key here."

An independently owned station does not have to abide by brand-set prices.

"The idea really is simple, if BP on Te Ngae Rd was charging 20c more for fuel, which would you choose to fill your car?" Stockdale said.

"However on Fairy Springs Rd, where BP has no low price competition, it can charge the $2.19 per litre."

Rotorua's most expensive of the petrol stations surveyed was $2.22 at Z Energy on Fairy Springs Rd, closely followed by BP on Fairy Springs Rd at $2.19.

In a similar Rotorua Daily Post survey in January last year, Z Energy on Fairy Springs Rd was $1.72, while BP Fairy Springs Rd was at $1.71.

At that time Mobile, BP and Gull on Te Ngae Rd all came in cheapest at $1.62 per litre.

"Rotorua is certainly not an isolated pocket of cheap fuel prices, but to have them so widespread across the city is quite remarkable," Stockdale said.

Peter Thompson is a regular customer at Challenge on Malfroy Rd.

"I live just around the corner, and they're just a great bunch of guys.

"I don't go out of my way to check out prices, I'm just lucky to live around the corner from a cheap one."

Thompson said he had definitely noticed his weekly fuel bill rising.

"I loved it when it was under $1."