Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT -

Cut petrol use

Walk and cy­cle more

Seek ways to ‘in­su­late’ your wealth

rent rises. Pay­ing off a mort­gage fast in­su­lates you from ris­ing in­ter­est rates.

But when it comes to petrol, many of us are trapped by the ‘‘tyranny of dis­tance’’.

Tra­di­tion­ally this phrase re­ferred to the dis­tance our ex­ports have to travel to over­seas mar­kets.

But in large, low-den­sity cities like Auck­land, the phrase per­fectly cap­tures the lot of com­muters forced to live far from their work­places.

Trans­port costs are 14 per cent of the Con­sumer Price Index, of which petrol makes up a third. It’s a big bite out of the house­hold bud­get.

Peo­ple who own a house near their work and chil­dren’s schools worry less about petrol prices.

They could even go back to a 1970s-style one-car fam­ily set-up like my own.

An Auck­land Trans­port study claims the av­er­age Kiwi com­muter spends $11,852 run­ning a car each year.

If they sold it and used pub­lic trans­port, they’d save $9065.78 a year.

If your house­hold can’t do what we’ve done, it might still save petrol by run­ning smaller, more fuel-ef­fi­cient cars, and cut un­nec­es­sary car jour­neys by car­shar­ing, walk­ing, or cy­cling.

Cut­ting petrol use can limit your sense of phys­i­cal free­dom, and travel can take longer.

It can mean liv­ing a more lo­cal life, but that’s been work­ing for us, and the chil­dren be­came much fit­ter now they walk or cy­cle a cou­ple of kilo­me­tres a day.

Be­ing more fru­gal in your spend­ing, and pinch­ing your life­style to cut the amount you have to pay to mo­nop­o­lists and oli­gop­o­lists is in­fu­ri­at­ing.

Iron­i­cally though, it al­lows you to in­su­late your­self even more by grow­ing your wealth faster.

Re­duc­ing your petrol con­sump­tion isn’t just one in the eye for OPEC.

The AA’s Mark Stock­dale says just a quar­ter of the price of petrol is the cost of petrol. An­other quar­ter is the cost of get­ting it to the pump.

All the rest is tax- GST, ex­cise taxes and fuel levies.

‘‘We shouldn’t get too angry with Arabs in flow­ing robes, we should be angry with the politi­cians in the Bee­hive,’’ he says.

Fair point. When OPEC raises the oil price, your GST bill goes up too!


Hand over your money. It’s time to re­fill the tank again.

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