Petrol prices are on the rise, and more people are now considering switching to electric vehicles. Each year Inland Revenue calculates the cost per kilometre of operating a vehicle, which includes fixed costs, depreciation and running costs.
The good news is that the cost of an electric vehicle has gone down five cents a kilometre over the last year to 76 cents, while the cost of a conventional petrol vehicle is up three cents, also to 76 cents.
The convergence of the costs has for the first time brought electric vehicles costs on a par with petrol.
It is highly likely the running cost of electric vehicles will continue to come down, relative to petrol, as production of electric vehicles increases and the price per unit falls.
Given the simplicity of an electric engine, we believe there is potential for transport costs to be reduced significantly in the future, but for most of us the upfront cost of owning an electric is still too much of a hurdle, so it looks like we’ll be filling up at the petrol station for a while yet.
Paul has as tip for frugal motorists: “There’s an app for mobile phones called Gaspy. It’s a Kiwi bit of software that uses the GPS on your phone to show the cheapest petrol stations near you and the distance from your current position to them.”
While the data do not come from service stations directly, and may not include all outlets, a look around the site shows crowd-power is providing sufficient data to achieve the objective, which is to show users where they can buy the cheapest fuel. In the Bay of Plenty and Auckland areas they say savings typically are about 13 cents a litre. In Northland and the Waikato it’s 10 cents.
Not only is the app great for those who want to save money, but also for those who want to do their bit to bring greater competition to the fuel retail industry.
There’s no question that competition results in better pricing for the consumer, and that’s a great thing. Consumer power is market democracy in action.
We have used the app, and find it especially useful on trips, where we don’t already know where the best deals are. By thinking ahead a hundred kilometres or so, we can plan the pit stop and get the best economy from the refill. As a general rule, we have found Gull is typically the cheapest place to fuel-up — their self-service stations in particular.
On the subject of fuel prices, something to think about when you are replacing your vehicle is the type of fuel it uses. Most cars run on 91 octane, but some run on 95. These are generally higher-performance cars with higher compression. There is no benefit in using 95 petrol in a car where the manufacturer recommends 91.
And tyre pressure affects fuel consumption. According to one tyre company, every 10 per cent under the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure costs about 2.5 per cent in fuel consumption. If a tyre is running at 27 PSI instead of 30, the extra fuel consumption will cost about six cents a litre based on today’s pump price.
"We have used the Gaspy app, and find it especially useful on trips, where we don’t already know where the best deals are. "