New Zealand sits right in the middle of the 2021 Fuel Affordability Index

Credit: Original article can be found here

The cost of filling up your tank can be tough to stomach at times, especially when the oil market has a scare and Kiwi pump prices begin to flirt with $2.50 per litre of 91 octane. Those needing higher octane fuels already know that pain.

But what about overseas? Comparethemarket took a look at what it cost to fill a 42 litre tank in 37 countries around the world, comparing it with the average monthly income. Turns out, it actually isn’t so bad in New Zealand.

The methodology for the study involved taking the average fuel price per litre for each OECD country from Trading Economics and finding an average price across the last twelve months for each.

It’s never fun fuelling up the car, but it has to be done.


It’s never fun fuelling up the car, but it has to be done.

They then multiplied this by 42 to show the average cost to fill up an average-sized car (in this case, a Ford Fiesta).

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Finally, that figure was divided by the average monthly income in each country (according to the World Bank) to calculate the cost to fill a tank as a percentage of monthly earnings.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that the United States boasts the best cost to fill as a percentage of monthly earnings, a mere 0.57 per cent. Per litre, it costs just NZ$0.88 for fuel, against an average monthly income of NZ$6412.

Following the Yanks are the Aussies, with a percentage of 1.06 per cent of their monthly income going towards filling their tank, thanks to a fuel cost of $1.31/litre and a monthly income of $5195.

In third is Canada with a percentage of 1.07 per cent. Average petrol per litre over there is $1.15 but the monthly income is a bit lower than Oz, at $4514.

As for New Zealand, we rank 16th on the Index, out of 37. Not too bad, then. According to Comparethemarket, we pay an average of $2.00 per litre of fuel and earn $4082 on average per month. That equates to 2.06 per cent of our monthly pay packet for one tank of petrol.

On the other end of the spectrum, with the least affordable petrol when compared with earnings, is Turkey. While fuel itself isn’t overly expensive, at $1.48 per litre, the low income levels in the country mean that the cost of filling up a tank of petrol works out at 6.79 per cent of a month’s wages, more than any other country looked at.

As a developing country, Colombia actually has one of the cheapest fuel prices of the countries that we looked at, but with monthly earnings equating to just $615 a month, this means that it still costs over six per cent of the average monthly income to fill a tank with petrol.

Similarly, Mexico offers low fuel prices at $1.27 per litre but an average monthly income of $893 means filling a tank takes 5.96 per cent of a month’s wages.

Of course, those figures aren’t exact, they’re averages. It might cost you more to fill (and it probably does) but considering every country had their fuel costs and average wages taken from the same source, it seems pretty fair.