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Revealed: Best days to buy petrol

Motorists are being urged to avoid buying petrol on Thursdays and Fridays, with savings of up to $200 a year on offer.

University of New England economics professor Abbas Valadkhani, in an independent study of petrol prices, has revealed that the end of the week accounts for 90% of peak prices in both cities and country towns. He urged Australians to avoid buying petrol on Thursdays and Fridays, and shift purchases to the cheapest days, which tend to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The research confirms findings by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC), which showed that Thursday was the day of highest demand in our largest capital cities last year. The ACCC launched an investigation into the way fuel retailers share information last year, and is still ongoing.

The most significant price differentials could save a motorist filling up a family-sized car weekly on Tuesdays as much as $200 a year. Using those shop-a-dockets from Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) and Coles – owned by Wesfarmers Limited (ASX: WES), could also see motorists save more, with up to 8 cents a litre in discounts available.

Most motorists don’t appear to understand the price cycle, and tend to get ripped off by buying fuel later in the week and over weekends. At least we aren’t in Norway or Turkey, which charge around $2.50 Australian equivalent for a litre of petrol, according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum.

The national average price for a litre of fuel in the week ended 17 March 2013 was 151.2 cents, with South Australia the cheapest at 142.6 cents and the Northern Territory the most expensive at 165.7 cents.

Foolish takeaway

The message is clear for motorists – if you want to save on petrol, don’t buy on Thursdays and Fridays.

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More reading

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Woolworths.

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