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Apps that help find which fuel price is right

By Michael Jacobson on Friday, 7 December 2018

In the never-ending search for cheaper fuel, Australian motorists are becoming app happy.

Of course, every motorist knows when the price of fuel will increase.

It’s always the day after you drive past a dozen servos, all selling cheap juice, and you decide: “Nah, it’ll be right. I’ll fill up tomorrow.”

That’s when the fuel gods begin working against you.

They know you’ve had plenty of opportunities to exploit the lower end of the fuel cycle.

They know you could easily have found that measly few minutes to pull up, fill up and pay up.

They know you’re a repeat offender.

Perhaps that’s why fuel price apps are becoming ever more prevalent and popular, as a readily accessible weapon against the bowser wowsers.

For example, the MotorMouth app reports prices from around 4500 Australian service stations daily.

Thanks to motorists recording and submitting prices from outlets in their proximity, it helps other motorists too.

As an extra incentive, MotorMouth users can be rewarded with credits towards treats within the app.

GasBuddy also encourages consumers to seek and report local fuel prices.

Challenges and a leaderboard add some fun to the experience, although the main goal remains a serious search for savings.

Tipped to launch soon, Refueler is an app that promises to combine the live fuel prices with the option to pre-purchase fuel.

You'll be able to buy at the lower end of the cycle and fill up later.

If the price drops further, your account will be credited with the difference.

If it rises, the pre-paid amount applies.

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There are other apps and online fuel comparisons – FuelMap, PetrolSpy and Compare the Market to name a few – and more are coming.

And while finding the best app for you is a matter of personal preference, all reflect how fuel pricing is one of the most contentious aspects of motoring.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the petrol price cycle is "a movement in retail price from a low point (or trough) to a high point (or peak) to a subsequent low point".

These cycles are "the result of deliberate pricing policies of petrol retailers, and are not directly related to changes in wholesale costs".

For those of us behind the wheel, the upshot is that prices steadily reduce for a time before surging north, generally just as our fuel needle is pointing south.

That's where a fuel price app may be a godsend.

Meanwhile, discount vouchers/dockets and special memberships offered through the big supermarkets are another way of saving at the petrol pump.

Then there's the media, with many radio stations giving local price reports and other news outlets reporting when petrol is about to go up or down.

Further savings can be achieved via general improvements to driving efficiency and fuel economy.

In the end, our vehicles comprise one of the largest ongoing costs in our personal budget, so it's no wonder fuel price apps are happening among the many ways motorists seek to ease the squeeze on the wallet.

Regularly servicing your car can also help keep your car as fuel efficient as possible.

Replacing air and oil filters will make a smoother running engine, and mechanics will make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct PSI.  

Use AutoGuru to book your car in for a service the most convenient and hassle-free way.

You're just a few clicks away from instant quotes, and no surprises! 

 

About the Author
Michael Jacobson is an award-winning Queensland-based writer.

His appreciation for motoring began as a young journalist covering racing from Simmons Plains in Tasmania.

Over the years he has interviewed many Australian and international motoring greats.

He has also been driven around Lakeside Raceway at ferocious speed, circumnavigated the Gold Coast Indy circuit at more than 200kmh and managed to squeeze 365,000 kilometres out of a Toyota Starlet. 

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