ED. TEAM CHATTER
At the time of writing this, I have just filled up my ‘cheap’ basher of a daily with a fresh tank of 98 and it stung me a cool $2.52 a litre — why I continue to buy the most expensive off-the-pump octane I do not know, but I just can’t bring myself to pick up that 91 nozzle and have the poor SR20 feel ever-so-slightly more sluggish as a result. If you wound the clock back 10 years, when I was filling up my first car at $1.50 a litre, and asked me whether I thought gas was expensive, I would probably have said “Yeah”, as I tried to get a full tank out of my part-time job wages. Ha! If only I had known then what was coming.
Remember when the per litre price hit something crazy like $2.00 and we all lost our minds? The mainstream news was flooded with outcries over these greedy petrol stations creaming us at the pumps. Then prices dipped back under the two buck mark for a while. By the second time it crept back up, we were all kind of used to it, oil companies blamed increasing costs in extraction and exporting, and we all learned to live with it.
That was until a fresh government came into power talking the big talk and we were soon slapped with hefty tax increases at the pump; one came in, then another, and another — if you are living in Auckland. The ripples started hitting neighbouring regions, transport costs went up, and the cost of business took a hit.
These increases, while marginal for some, are affecting everyone at the moment, and the outpouring of upset online hasn’t stopped since. I’m not going to claim it’s all the fault of the government, nor of the councils that are opting to enact regional taxes that they promise will go towards fixing roadways but have actually been found to be funding revenue-gathering speed cameras, nor of the mum and dad owned gas stations — no; it’s the fault of those bringing the fuel into the country, riding the demand wave and blaming economic factors that are barely worth mentioning.
Although the cost of processing crude oil and shipping fuel worldwide has increased, we all know it hasn’t increased that substantially. I could get lost diving into the figures here, but it’s really not all that interesting, and you’ve likely already seen numerous examples of the same information popping up online.
The figure I want to draw to your attention to is probably the most concerning: the percentage of Kiwi salaries spent on fuel compared to the percentage in the rest of the developed world. With an average cost of $2.53 per litre, the percentage of the average Kiwi salary spent on fuel is 2.56. That doesn’t sound like a stupid figure, really, but consider countries such as Norway, where people spend only 0.53 percent of the average salary despite fuel costing an average of $3.18 a litre. Likewise, Spaniards, who spend only 0.67 percent, with fuel at $2.40 a litre.
It’s not just that we’re being hit hard at the pump; we’re hit pretty hard when it comes to the cost of living by way of lower pay rates than those around the world. Our neighbours across the ditch, with documented better fuel prices ($1.71) and salaries than we Kiwis, spend an average of only 1.41 per cent of their annual income on fuel.
So, to sum it all up: we’re getting gypped pretty bad. Sure, we’re a little island nation that no other country reeeeeally cares about all that much, but it doesn’t need to be this rough at the pump, does it? I just want to fill up my car and blast some back roads without taking it out on the mortgage.
Oh well, how does this Onzo thing work?