Fuel up now, and fast: Motorists warned petrol prices about to skyrocket

Kiwis are being urged to fuel up now, and fast as a New Zealand petrol supplier warns it's about to increase prices significantly. 

Hamilton-based fuel supplier Waitomo Group warned on Friday 'unprecedented price increases' internationally mean petrol is about to get more expensive. 

"Today, we've been advised by our supplier that prices are increasing, with the biggest single jump in our wholesale price seen in my time," managing director Jimmy Ormsby said. 

"Despite keeping our own costs as low as we can, so we can deliver the fairest pump prices while ensuring we remain sustainable ourselves, we can't absorb all that rise ourselves - so pump prices are going to have to respond."

Ormsby warned a "jump of this level" will hurt customers and businesses "big time". 

"Get in now, fill up as much as you can. We will supply as much as we can at the lower price until 6pm, but from then on, prices will start climbing, reflecting the unprecedented price increase we've received."

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, petrol prices have been volatile with global benchmark Brent crude recording its biggest decline since April, 2020, on Wednesday, just a couple of days after hitting a 14-year high at over $139 a barrel. Despite the drop, Brent crude is hovering around $110 a barrel. 

Ormsby said despite holding off as long as possible, the company must raise prices in response. 

He acknowledged the increases wouldn't be welcome news for many Kiwis who are already struggling with the cost of living. 

"High fuel prices - like grocery prices, and housing prices - are part of the cost-of-living crisis, hitting Kiwis who least can afford it. 

"The impact for Kiwis that can least afford it is what keeps me up at night. We'd not be living up to our Waitomo values if we didn't do what we could to help.

Ormsby said the company will increase prices from 6pm tonight. 

"We've tightened our belts, kept our overheads and operating costs as low as we can, but we can't continue to absorb everything passed on to us by our suppliers or Government.

"That's why we're warning our customers of the window of opportunity before 6pm - it's the fairest we can offer."

Newshub asked Ormsby if prices will go down again soon, following Wednesday's big drop in the price of Brent crude.

A spokesperson for Waitomo Group said whether prices decrease will depend on what happens over the week. 

"Even a $5 per barrel decrease won't ease wholesale pricing significantly. 

"We're expecting to see very high prices for the cost of product supplied to us for some time yet."

New Zealand's cost of living is skyrocketing with fuel leading the way. On average Kiwis spent an extra $4000 to $5000 on basics such as food, rent and fuel in the past year. That includes $678 a year on petrol on average. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has admitted some Kiwis are doing it tough but is refusing to call it a crisis.