New Zealand petrol app fuels the fire of pricing debate

  • News
  • February 16, 2017
  • Elly Strang
New Zealand petrol app fuels the fire of pricing debate

As the government launches an investigation into fuel prices, an app called Gaspy that helps users find the cheapest petrol prices nearby is gaining steam. 

Gaspy launched in the Tauranga region at the end of last year by software company Hwen.

It works via crowdsourcing by people submitting the prices of petrol stations near them.

Other users can then confirm and update those prices, with the more people contributing resulting in more accurate prices.

Co-developer Larry Green said himself and the other co-creators, Mike Newton, Ben Smith, and Tim Turner, wanted to do some pro-bono work as a way of giving back to the community.

“It has no functionality for making income at all and no advertising. What I like about it from a creative point-of-view is if people use it, it will exist and if they don’t, it will cease to exist,” he says.

“It’s entirely dependent on the community – we call them the ‘carmunity’ – to submit, update and share prices. It’s a community driven thing and there’s no financial gain for anyone, so if everyone contributes, everyone benefits.”

Green says petrol price monitoring apps have been running for years abroad, but New Zealand didn’t have anything operating in that category.

In just over four months, the app has since hit 15,000 active users and spread from Tauranga to further afield around New Zealand.

Auckland’s user base, in particular, is now booming, he says, where gas prices skew greatly depending on where you’re located in the city.

“What we discovered when we were doing the back-end research for it is a standard 20 to 30 cent difference over a 5km spread of petrol stations. So by knowing where the cheapest petrol station is, you can shave $30 to $40 off your family’s bill.”

The app’s release is timely, considering the government has announced it’s launching an investigation into how fair petrol and diesel prices are in New Zealand through MBIE.

Energy Minister Judith Collins said fuel margins had more than doubled over the last five years, so the study would be taking a close look at fuel companies’ finances and the discrepancies between different towns’ prices.

The last inquiry into petrol pricing took place in 2008. Officials are expected to report back on the findings in June.

Green says Gaspy has formally offered the Government and the AA assistance with the enquiry, as well as free access to all of the data it’s been collating on fuel prices.

He says if anything, the app has helped loosen the tight hold gas companies have over consumers’ wallets.

“Some of the feedback we get is that petrol prices make people feel powerless,” he says.

“With Gaspy, the sheer ability to choose gives a bit of power back to the consumer to vote with your car and choose not to go somewhere.

“It forces businesses to be competitive because you can’t hope people haven’t seen the other prices.”

Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts said that the company welcomed the clarity the study would bring and promised it would participate fully in the investigation.

However, he warned that MBIE’s assessment of profit margins didn’t account for discounting that occurs through loyalty schemes.

Z Energy said its profit per litre hasn’t increased on what it was one year ago, but MBIE figures suggest gross margins increased by at least 2 cents a litre in 2016.

BP and Mobil have also issued statements saying they would co-operate with the MBIE investigation.

The inquiry may help bring New Zealand more into line with Australia’s close examination of petrol companies’ fuel practices.

Across the ditch, petrol prices are being scrutinised and reported on by consumer watchdog group, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

A New South Wales government-run app called FuelCheck is also in operation, helping consumers locate the cheapest fuel prices with the click of a button

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Bonnie Brown’s Blooming ‘Brella: Winner of the Blunt + Idealog + Generator umbrella experiment

  • News
  • May 25, 2018
  • Elly Strang
Bonnie Brown’s Blooming ‘Brella: Winner of the Blunt + Idealog + Generator umbrella experiment

The grand winner of the Blunt + Idealog + Generator umbrella experiment has been announced – congratulations to Bonnie Brown of Studio Bon, who will see her design turned into a limited edition Blunt umbrella. Watch this space for details on how to buy one in the near future, or get your pre-order in now. In the meantime, we chat with Brown and have a closer look at her winning design.

Read more

Save money or save values?

  • Opinion
  • May 25, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
Save money or save values?

As the next generation become top spenders, it is up to them to communicate their values to the market. Below you’ll find examples of local, ethical, mindful and sustainable retailers to support, well also upgrading your wardrobe.

Read more

#Trending: Shop to showroom

  • News
  • May 25, 2018
  • Sarah Pollok
#Trending: Shop to showroom

Stores are starting to display only sample products are on the rise. Sarah Pollok looks into the new showroom experience hitting our retailers.

Read more
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Debunking diversity myths surrounding hiring practises

  • Opinion
  • May 24, 2018
  • Rose Lu
Debunking diversity myths surrounding hiring practises

Flick Electric software engineer Rose Lu has often been the sole woman or sole non-white person in the room in her career, and recently assisted with Flick's hiring process for new engineers. Here, she shares some key learnings on how to hire for diversity – and how to get around the obstacles that often pop up.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit