Some New Zealanders are selling their cars, downsizing, only doing essential trips, cutting out of town family visits and spending less on groceries to cope with the rising cost of petrol.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said petrol companies were "fleecing" motorists at the pump, with the price of fuel rising by 19c a litre since the start of the year but excise tax only increasing by 3.5c in that time.

But the big fuel companies - Z, BP and Mobil - deny they are fleecing consumers, pointing to the rise in cost of the product and the weakening of the NZ dollar.

What changes have you made since the price hikes?

Hundreds of Kiwis have taken to the Herald Facebook page to vent their frustration.


Angela Richardson wrote she has had to cut back in other areas, like food and activities for her children. "Using public transport or riding a bike isn't an option for us," she said.

Renee Louise wrote she now walks to university and only uses her car to drive to the supermarket and to work. "Can't go on road trips to make memories with friends. Can't go visit my nanna out of town."

Driving anywhere is something Sandra Morris thinks twice about now. "[It's] costing a small fortune to get to work and back now, there are no public transport options [where I live]."

Recently widowed and a solo parent, Lisa Cropp wrote she had driven from Auckland to Nelson to put a headstone on her husband's grave and was now making her way back up the North Island with her children.

"Added gas costs mean we have had to miss out on activities we would otherwise have enjoyed and instead of cooking, I am serving up canned food to afford the trip home," she said.

"Also when school goes back, I go back to work and have to use my personal vehicle to get to the various schools around Auckland."

With only 52c per kilometre reimbursement for vehicle use, she said it was a real struggle.

"Getting to work to make the money comes first, rent second and food third."

Frankie Egglestone wrote some weeks she is left with very little to buy groceries due to her daughter having to go to a rural school due to learning needs.

"Her and I live in town, it's 20km each way, [so] 80 km a day. I'm on a benefit due to a kidney transplant and also studying." Egglestone said she's spending almost $120 a week on petrol.

Colin Baker runs a shuttle service and wrote the impact of the rise in fuel costs has slowly been hurting his business. He said he has had to change minimum numbers and more efficiently to get by.

In the first month that Auckland's regional fuel tax was in place, Auckland Transport said the number of people using public transport jumped by 10.6 per cent on July 2017, with 7,920,196 trips.

A spokesperson for Auckland Transport said that while some fares had increased this year, some had also decreased to allow for a more even spread between fares.

"AT does make sure that customers are getting value for money," the spokesperson said.

"Cost is only one factor that affects the decision to use public transport, there is also convenience, speed, the weather, and it is more relaxing than driving."

In the recent annual customer satisfaction survey, AT said the overall satisfaction with the public transport network was 91 per cent and the satisfaction towards value for money was 80 per cent.

One ferry service to Waiheke Island however, SeaLink, raised its prices recently.

SeaLink's group sales and marketing manager said its adult monthly pass for Waiheke was recently increased by 5 per cent to $366.

"This was in response to an increase we have experienced in operational costs –particularly fuel," he said.