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Petrol drives up household transport spending – Media release

3 March 2020

An increasing share of the average weekly household budget is being spent on petrol, Stats NZ said today.

Spending on petrol by New Zealand households rose to a weekly value of $48.50 on average in the year ended June 2019, up 14.4 percent on the same period in 2016. This figure includes any taxes or duties on petrol implemented around the country since 2016.

“Cars are the most preferred form of transport for New Zealanders, so it’s not surprising to see households spending more on petrol given we’ve also seen an increase in fuel prices over a similar period”, wealth and expenditure statistics manager Emily Shrosbree said.  

(See Car streets ahead for travel to work and education, and Petrol pushes annual inflation to 1.9 percent.)

The average total weekly spending for New Zealand households was $1,348.70, so petrol expenditure was nearly 4 percent of that.  

Household expenditure for other vehicle fuels and lubricants (including diesel) also increased, but accounted for only a small proportion of transport expenditure (less than 2 percent).

In terms of dollar value, weekly household expenditure on petrol ($48.50) was similar to that of international air transport ($48.70) and purchases of second-hand cars ($44.80). Petrol, unlike the other areas, increased significantly.

“Many households buy petrol every week,” Miss Shrosbree said.

“Plane tickets and cars tend to be more expensive, but much less frequent purchases, but these figures show us that on average the weekly amount households spend on all three is similar.”

Household expenditure on transport overall increased 13.8 percent since June 2016, to $215.80 per week, with petrol accounting for one-fifth of all transport expenditure.

Petrol, international air travel, and buying new or second-hand cars accounted for almost all (80 percent) of a household’s weekly transport expenditure.