Kiwis forked out at least $18 million more on fuel in June, pushing retail card spending for the month up, Stats NZ said today.
Spending on fuel was 2.9 per cent higher compared with May 2022, while it fell across most retail industries.
Retail card spending rose 0.1 per cent in June from the previous month, when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said.
"This increase is likely influenced by higher fuel prices at the pump," business performance manager Ricky Ho said.
"Fuel spending accounted for the slight increase in retail card spending in June."
Despite the Government slashing 25 cents a litre off its fuel excise duty in March - which has been subsequently extended until mid-August - fuel prices are still as high, if not higher, in some places.
In the week to June 10, the average price motorists were paying was $3.15 per litre for Unleaded 91, only six cents cheaper than the average $3.21 a litre being paid before the tax cut kicked in.
According to fuel price app Gaspy, the price of Unleaded 91 was spotted as high as $3.35 a litre at Z Greenlane in Auckland in June.
The average price of Unleaded 91 is currently $3.05, up 11.85 cents (4.04 per cent) over the past 28 days, according to Gaspy.
As previously reported by the Herald, this time in May Unleaded 91 fuel was on average $2.80.
Unleaded 98 is currently up 47.86 cents, or 16.27 per cent, over the past 28 days with an average price of $3.42.
The cheapest fuel in the country for Unleaded 91 is $2.82 at an NPD self serve station on Stanmore Rd in Christchurch, according to Gaspy.
And diesel - having surpassed $3 a litre in some places last month - is averaging $2.90, up 12.69 cents, or 4.56 per cent, over the past 28 days.
One of the biggest reasons for rising fuel prices has been the increasing cost of importing fuel, driven by sanctions on Russian oil exports and a falling New Zealand dollar against the US dollar.
The Kiwi is trading at US62c - a huge fall from US70c in March.
Data collected by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) last month showed importers paid $1.63 per litre for 91 and $1.66 for 95 in the week to June 10 - a fresh record for the country.
While the rising cost of fuel pushed retail card spending up in June, electronic card spending in the core retail industry - which excludes vehicle-related industries - fell 0.3 per cent in June.
In actual terms, total retail spending using electronic cards reached $6.0 billion, up $112m (1.9 per cent) from June 2021, Stats NZ said.
Retail spending for the June quarter increased by $648m (3.8 per cent), following a 1.6 per cent rise in the March 2022 quarter.
"Retail card spending increased across all retail industries in the June quarter," Ho said.
"People were spending more on a range of items such as clothing, food and liquor, and fuel."