Fuel prices continue to rise. Photo / Getty Images
Petrol prices are as high if not higher than when the Government slashed fuel excise duties by 25c a litre in March, and now diesel is more than $3 a litre in some places.
Sky-rocketing prices have the Automobile Association warning there could be panic and chaos come mid-August if a return to normal fuel excise duties happened overnight.
In Wellington at midday on Thursday, Mobil Porirua was selling Unleaded 91 at $3.29 a litre, according to New Zealand fuel reporting website Gaspy.
Diesel in several locations across the capital was above $3 a litre.
In Auckland, the most expensive Unleaded 91 was at Z Greenlane where it was $3.35 a litre. In Christchurch, the highest price was at Z Barrington at $3.08 a litre.
AA motoring affairs principal policy adviser Terry Collins said they were some of the highest prices he has seen.
“The Government has got a real dilemma on their hands and it’s something they have no real control over, other than the decision on how to handle it.”
In Budget 2022 the Government announced it would extend cuts to fuel excise duty and road user charges, as well as keep public transport at half price until August.
A cost of living payment was also announced, paid in monthly instalments, and is due to start on August 1.
The payment equates to about $27 a week over three months for those earning up to $70,000 who are not eligible for the Winter Energy Payment.
“Budget 2022 is being delivered against the backdrop of a global inflation spike, with existing supply chain pressures being exacerbated by pressure on oil prices from the war in Ukraine. This will pass but we need to protect New Zealanders from the immediate impact,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said at the time.
Collins said even though fuel prices had probably risen higher than what they were when the Government announced the cuts, a saving was a saving.
“Imagine the impact if they hadn’t taken it off, it would have been even more severe. The issue is going to be how they put it back on.”
Collins said if fuel excise duties returned overnight, it could create panic, with petrol stations running out of gas and queues down the street.
“It’s going to be chaos for the first couple of days leading up to that as everyone tries to fill their car up and that’s going to put a strain on supplies.”
A spokesperson for Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods’ office said the Government was monitoring the situation.
Wellington electrician Jake Jones said the high price of diesel, on top of road user charges, was “hitting hard”.
His business Jake The Sparky is relatively new at about 18 months old.
Jones said he has recently upped his hourly rate to account for the high price of diesel, especially when he drove to a location to quote but missed out on the job.
He said he was worried about the Government’s cuts ending.
“When it all jumps back up I’m going to be left with these big bills that I’ve got to try and accommodate for.”