Petrol accounts for a big part of our family budget. We run two cars; a Mazda CX-5 for family duties and a small VW Golf for commuting to and from work.
On average we fill up each car once a week. Given petrol is quite expensive, it ends up costing us around $150 a week. That is over $7,800 a year and doesn’t account for road trips and other ‘outings’ whereby we opt to drive to our destination (such as visiting family in the country or going on mini-holidays within Australia).
After doing a heap of research online and putting my findings to the test, I was able to figure out the cheapest days of the week to fill up with petrol. I am based in NSW; however, my research indicates that petrol pricing and the daily flux in prices is pretty consistent the world over.
Here are my findings that will help you save money the next time you fill up your car with petrol:
The cheapest day for petrol
Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days to fill up with petrol.
This is based on ACCC research and that of my own findings, whereby over the course of 2 weeks I recorded the daily petrol price at two different petrol stations on my way to work.
The reason petrol is cheaper on Tuesday and Wednesday is due to consumer demand. People are less likely to be in a Monday rush to work, or a frantic weekend of needing to be places. As such, the prices are lower given there are less people opting to fill up. On average, I found that petrol was slightly cheaper on Tuesday when compared to Wednesday fuel prices.
- Prices were between 3 cents to 10 cents cheaper per litre on these days compared to the most expensive days of the week.
Remember, petrol companies increase their prices on more prominent days of the week.
The most expensive day for petrol
Sunday and Monday are the most expensive days to fill up with petrol
Petrol is more expensive on Sunday due to people preparing themselves for the week ahead. Many households opt to use Sunday as a ‘get stuff done’ type of day, which often includes refilling the cars with petrol after a busy Saturday.
Monday in turn sees petrol prices remain high. The petrol companies see this as an opportunity to earn extra money, as the remnants of society who didn’t get a chance to fill up with petrol on Sunday are now on their way to work (often in a rush or slightly distracted at the dismay of returning to said work).
- Prices on these days on average are 5 cents to 10 cents higher per litre.
As you can see, Sunday and Monday are the most expensive days to fill up with petrol in the week and should ideally be avoided by anyone looking to save a little extra money. I call the price rise on these days a ‘lazy tax’.
Times of the year when petrol is most expensive
Petrol is more expensive on long weekends
Before, during and just after long weekends you will notice that petrol prices are higher. Long weekends equate to more people on the roads, often traveling to visit friends and families, which see’s petrol companies adapt their pricing to take advantage of this.
Try and fill up with petrol a few days before a long weekend, ideally on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Petrol is more expensive on public holidays
Per above, a public holiday will see more motorists on the road and needing to fill up with petrol. Prices will 9 out of 10 times be higher on these public holidays so try and avoid buying petrol on these days.
Petrol is more expensive at Easter time, Christmas time and on Boxing Day
The ultimate ‘lazy tax’ – major holiday periods will always see you pay more for petrol. No different to public holidays and long weekends; Easter, Christmas and Boxing Day see’s the whole of Australia stop working and in turn opt to hop in the car to do things.
Try and fill up your cars before the start of these holiday periods to save money, or at minimum become more conscious with your driving at these times – could you all hop in one car instead of two?
Petrol is expensive during School Holidays
When kids are on school holidays, quite often parents are too. This means mums and dads are off work and instead on the roads, busy driving to their holiday destinations or to the local bouncy castle café to entertain the little ones.
Which petrol stations on average are cheapest?
According to Canstar Blue, depending on the petrol station you visit – you could see lower or higher prices on average.
I was interested to see that the major petrol brands such as Coles Express, Caltex, BP and Shell were among the most expensive. Smaller operators such as United and 7 Eleven Petrol appear to be cheaper on average and with a reasonable footprint of locations.
You now know the cheapest days of the week to buy petrol. What else can you do to save money?
Often it comes down to common sense if you are trying to spend less money on petrol. Drive less, drive safer, maintain your car regularly and shop around for petrol prices (rather than just filling up at the first service station you see).
If you are looking for some specific tips, start by reading our tips on saving money on petrol. This will give you a good 101 checklist of ways to save money on petrol.