How NZ fuel prices compare globally

Discussions about the fuel price are often fixated on price per litre, but the number we should really be looking at is the percentage of salary spent on fuel annually.

Data from the website Globalpetrol prices shows that New Zealanders spend around $2.55 per litre on petrol, placing our nation around the middle of the pack (albeit well ahead of the global average of $1.80 per litre).

This is, of course, well ahead of the oil-rich regions of the like of Iran, Kuwait, Nigeria, which all pay below a $1 per litre of fuel.

However, $2.55 doesn't seem a bad deal to a nation like Norway, which is forking out $3.19 a litre or Hong Kong, which pays a massive $3.42 for a few splashes of fuel.

New Zealand is also better off than the UK, Ireland, France and Denmark.

Source: NZME
Source: NZME
This might make seem that New Zealand is getting a relatively average deal, particularly when compared to the rest of the developed world - but things start to look far worse when you factor in how much Kiwis are spending on fuel relative to their incomes.

Research from Bloomberg, released in July when the petrol price was $2.32 a litre, shows that Kiwis spend an average of 2.56 per cent of their typical salary at the pump annually.

The percentages will now be higher as the cost of fuel has increased by at least 20 cents since then.

Kiwis are among the highest consumers of fuel in the world per capita, burning through around 672 litres of fuel a year.

When this is factored in alongside the fuel price, citizens of Hong Kong and Norway actually get a much better deal than New Zealand.

While we're spending over 2.5 per cent of our income on fuel, Norway only spends 0.53 per cent of its annual income on fuel and Hong Kong only 0.49 per cent.

The only countries to get worse deals than New Zealand are Brazil (2.8 per cent), Saudi Arabia (2.87 per cent), Greece (2.95 per cent), Canada (3.01 per cent), South Africa (3.64 per cent) and Mexico (3.94 per cent).

NZME. Information source:
NZME. Information source:


this is far to simple a comparison . As all the tax (except acc component) goes into transport infrastructure , you also have to account for the infrastructure fund raising of other countries. ie they might have lower fuel prices but use tolls heavily or have higher taxes etc . Pre tax/levies calculations are the only truly fair way to compare , otherwise it's apples and oranges.