The ethics of fuel companies

In New Zealand we are at the mercy of fuel companies that seem to charge what they like for an essential product.

It is unfortunate that the general public accept this as a force of nature. Fuel companies feed on this and the cycle is perpetuated.

Every fuel company in New Zealand is guilty of this continued exploitation.

Loyalty Cards:

Fuel companies have resorted to providing fuel discounts if you use their loyalty card.

These loyalty cards typically offer a 6 cents per litre discount.

If you don’t have a loyalty card you don’t get the discount.

Discount Fuel Stations:

Enter the unmanned discount fuel stations that claim to offer fuel at discounted prices.

These stations appear to offer fuel at round the same price as the mainstream stations if you used a loyalty card. That’s typically 6 cents per litre.


PAK’nSAVE fuel is operated by Z, and as of this writing is offering fuel at 14 cents per litre less than there mainstream stations.


Currently there is a big battle over site locations for new fuel station builds. Competition is fierce. The question is if there is no money in fuel why is this competition so prevalent.

The con:

If fuel companies can offer a fuel discount if you use a loyalty card then why don’t they simply offer cheaper fuel. The answer is that they are make an extra 6 cents per litre if you don’t use/have a loyalty card.

Why are discount fuel stations only offering fuel at the same price as the discounted price from mainstream statiions.

If PAK’nSAVE fuel can offer fuel at 14 cents per litre less than the mainstream stations why can’t all the stations.


The issue is apathy. We as consumers are so fixated on using our vehicles that we believe we cannot do without them.

Food for thought:

If everyone stopped using their vehicles for one day per week it would have a significant impact on fuel companies. However the apathy mentioned about means this will never happen.

In recent years one of the major fuel companies paid its principal a 3 Billion dollar dividend.

Should fuel companies be regulated in order to control their unwieldy profits?

This document is provided as a starting point for a deeper conversation on the subject.