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Fuel prices at their highest ever

Media Release: 31 March 2006

PetrolWatch - March 2006

Fuel prices at their highest ever

Petrol prices rose 9 cents per litre during March, to end on $1.569 per litre for 91 octane petrol, up from $1.479 at the beginning of the month.

The latest increase heralds the highest ever price recorded for 91 octane since AA PetrolWatch began monitoring prices in 1999. The price even surpasses the $1.559 per litre recorded during the height of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath last year. 95 octane petrol now retails for $1.619 a litre in the main centres.

The price of diesel rose 8 cents per litre during March, to close at $1.169 per litre, also the highest price ever recorded for diesel.

"The latest price increases are largely a result of the falling New Zealand dollar, which has dropped around 6 cents against the United States dollar in the last month, and high international demand driving up product costs," says AA Motoring Affairs General Manager Mike Noon.

"The latest price increases will be difficult for some motorists to bear. On top of this the Government is due to impose its first inflation adjusted petrol tax increase of 0.796c per litre on 1 April and that will likely mean another hike of one cent per litre if the oil companies pass it on."

Mr Noon says "the AA calls on oil companies to hold price increases as much as they can, just as they did during Hurricane Katrina. They were a bit slower in passing on increases then, taking some of the pain themselves and motorists really appreciated that."

"We are also asking the Government to help. For every 5 cents per litre increase in the base price of fuel the Government gets a windfall of $29 million in GST receipts. We would like some of that given back to motorists through price cuts at the pump or for this money to be directed into the land transport fund to help fix our roads."

Since the beginning of January, petrol has risen 18 cents per litre, and diesel has risen 24 cents per litre, according to AA PetrolWatch.


How can you control your fuel costs ?

Consider whether you need to use the car for short trips - motorists feeling the pinch from higher fuel prices might consider leaving the car at home.

"Often we take the car on short errands to save time, but with higher fuel costs the time saved becomes increasingly expensive. For shorter journeys motorists might just find it cheaper to cycle, walk, carpool, take public transport or combine trips, especially for shorter journeys," says Mr Noon.

More helpful tips on keeping your fuel costs down are listed on the AA's website: www.aa.co.nz

ENDS

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