Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says people will shop around to get the best deal when the council's petrol tax of 11.5 cents a litre comes in on Sunday.
The Ardmore resident who has an electric mayoral car and rides a motorcycle says like most Aucklanders he uses supermarket coupons and hunts out the lowest price.
Goff says he avoids paying 20c or more for petrol near the airport when he's better off filling up at a service station at Hill Rd in Manurewa.
It's just a rip-off. We're working for nothing practically. We can't even pay our rent and they're just putting everything up," said one motorist.
"Aucklanders are smart. They will figure it out for themselves," said Goff, when asked after the tax was passed yesterday how it will pan out across Auckland.
As to claims about motorists fuelling up outside Auckland to avoid the tax, Goff said everyone knows petrol prices tend to be higher outside the city "so I don't think there will be much to be saved by going down to Huntly to fill your tank up".
As councillors formally passed Goff's 10-year budget at the Auckland Town Hall yesterday morning, motorists swarmed to some Auckland service stations for a last discount fuel-up before the tax hike bites on Sunday.
At the forecourt, feelings about the new tax were mixed.
"It's just a rip-off. We're working for nothing practically. We can't even pay our rent and they're just putting everything up," said one motorist.
"It's all for a good cause...and hopefully we start seeing a trickle effect come down eventually," said another motorist.
Goff believes the petrol tax, which will leverage an additional $4.3 billion of transport spending over the next decade, will make a big difference to improving public transport and reducing congestion.
He thanked councillors for having the courage to make decisions to raise money to invest in the city.
The budget passed by 15 votes to 2, but not everyone was happy about the petrol tax.
Manukau councillor Efeso Collins said it would hurt his people in the poorest ward of the city who will pay the most as a proportion of their income. Albany councillor John Watson said it came at a time of high and rising petrol prices.
Dubbed the "build-it" budget by Goff, it includes targeted rates for improving water quality and environmental work.
Rates will rise by 2.5 per cent for the first two years and 3.5 per cent a year thereafter.
However, new property revaluations mean many ratepayers will pay more than 2.5 per cent and many will pay less. Higher rates will occur in the outer suburbs as a result of big prices rises in those suburbs since the last revaluation exercise in 2014.
Following public support during consultation and polling by the council, the budget raises $452 million over 10 years to clean up beaches and waterways and $311m to fight kauri dieback, protect native flora and fauna and fund pest and disease control.
The budget also includes Airbnb hosts paying a targeted rate for accommodation, which was introduced for hotels, motels and other accommodation providers in July last year.
- Additional reporting Tristram Clayton