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AA's PetrolWatch - April 2006

2 May 2006

PetrolWatch - April 2006

Second-largest fuel jump in a single month

Fuel prices rose sharply in April, reaching record levels around the world. Prices were driven by uncertainty over oil supply from Nigeria, the possible impact of the diplomatic stand-off over Iran and strong demand.

In New Zealand petrol prices increased 14 cents per litre during April, ending at $1.709 per litre for 91 octane petrol, up from $1.569 at the beginning of the month. It's the second-largest jump in a single month recorded by PetrolWatch since records began in 1999.

The price of diesel rose 11 cents per litre during April, to close at $1.279 per litre, which, like petrol, is the highest price ever recorded.

"Crude oil prices approached US$75 a barrel towards the end of April before settling back to the low $70s. That was almost US$9 more than at the beginning of the month," says Mike Noon, AA General Manager of Motoring Affairs.

"While the NZ dollar recovered nearly 3 cents against the US dollar during April, it was not enough to cushion motorists from the sharp jump in product costs which flowed through to the pump."

According to AA PetrolWatch, petrol has risen 32 cents per litre, and diesel has risen 35 cents per litre, since the beginning of January. For a medium-sized car with a 60 litre tank, it now costs an extra $19 to fill up with 91 octane compared to the beginning of the year.

So what can you do about rising fuel prices?
Here are some simple tips to reduce your fuel consumption and improve the fuel economy of your car:

* Drive smoothly, avoiding rapid acceleration and braking - adopting a smooth relaxed driving style is the most effective action you can take to improve your fuel economy;
* Drive in the highest appropriate gear - driving at 60km/h in third gear uses up to 25% more fuel than in fifth gear;
* Use the lowest octane fuel suitable for your car;
* Check tyre pressures; low tyre pressure increases fuel consumption by 3%; and
* Minimise use of air-conditioning, running your air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by up to 11%.

"Remember the faster you go the more it costs!" 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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