Paul has this tip for frugal motorists. “There is an APP for mobile phones called ‘gaspy’. It’s a kiwi bit of software that uses the GPS on your phone to show the cheapest petrol stations near you – and the distance from your current position.”

We were aware of the APP and first looked at it shortly after it was released. It’s come a long way since then and now has community support behind it, to make it the go-to place to find the best deal on fuel prices. Gaspy is well worth a look, if you want to get the best deal on 91, diesel, and 95 fuels.

This is how they describe themselves: “The prices on Gaspy are crowd-sourced which means we rely on like-minded consumers to locate and share the best fuel prices in NZ for shared benefit. By working together we can all enjoy cheaper gas and put pressure on Big Oil to maintain competitive pricing.”

To encourage the community to engage in data gathering, they reward those who provide pricing data with points and prizes. So while the data does not come from service stations directly – and may not include all outlets – a look around the site shows crowd-power is providing sufficient data to achieve their objective of showing users where they can buy the cheapest fuel. In the Bay of Plenty, and Auckland areas for example, they say savings typically are about 13 cent a litre. In Northland and the Waikato, it’s 10 cents.

It’s easy to use. Just put in the location you wish to search. The APP will then list the outlets ranked by price. Select the location and it will take you to Google maps – click the directions and the navigation system will take you to there. Simple. Money saved.

Not only is the APP great for those who want to save money, but also for those who want to do their bit to bring greater competition into the fuel retail industry. There is no question competition results is better pricing for the consumer, and that’s a great thing. Consumer power is market democracy in action.

We use the APP, especially when we are travelling and don’t already know where the best deals are. By thinking ahead a hundred kilometres or so, we can plan a pit stop to fill the tank and get the best economy from the refill on a long trip. As a general rule, we have found Gull is typically the cheapest place to fuel up – their self-service stations in particular.

With Gaspy in the palm of your hand, it’s also pretty easy to see if that discounted fuel coupon you have just received from your supermarket really is discounted.

While on the subject of fuel prices, something to think about when you are replacing your vehicle is the type of fuel it uses. Most cars run on 91 octane, but some run on the higher 95 octane fuel. These are generally higher performance cars with higher compression. There is no benefit in using 95 petrol in a car where the manufacturers recommend using 91.

The higher octane fuel costs anywhere between 10 and 20 cents more a litre, depending on where you shop. That’s significant money over the life of the vehicle. We recall the case of a motorist who was bragging about how frugal they were because they shop around for the lowest priced fuel. They were less effusive when it was pointed out that having a vehicle that ran on 95 octane fuel instead of 91 was adding at least 10 cents a litre to their fuel bill. The other thing they happened to overlook was the higher running costs associated with their German-made vehicle – and the minor fact that it had been financed on hire purchase! It was a case of looking after the pennies but not the pounds.