Compare petrol and service stations including Costco, Puma Energy, United Petroleum, Coles Express, 7-Eleven, Shell, Woolworths Caltex, BP, Ampol, Liberty, Caltex, and Metro Petroleum on their petrol prices, appearance & cleanliness, service, convenience, facilities, range of other items and overall satisfaction.
The cost of fuel is enough to drive anyone up the wall – but like any other product or service, you’ll end up paying for convenience, so you need to shop around. Sure, it’s easy and convenient to fill up at your nearest servo, but are you really getting the best value for money possible – in terms of the price you’re paying, but also the facilities that are available and the customer service provided? If the answer is “no” then maybe it’s time for a change. Driving past one service station to reach another seems nonsensical, but then so does paying more than you need to, or having a bad experience time after time.
If you’re ready to wave goodbye to your old servo, see if our annual review of petrol stations inspires you to try another. We’ve surveyed nearly 2,000 motorists across Australia to seek their feedback on the petrol station they use, to deliver the following guide.
While the price you pay at the pump is hugely important, our customer ratings reflect much more than that – we also ask motorists to give their opinions on a range of other significant factors, including their servo’s appearance & cleanliness, customer service, convenience, facilities, and range of other items for sale. After all, service stations are increasingly selling a lot more than just petrol, and some are much more welcoming than others. So, which petrol stations have been rated highly, and which have work to do?
Costco has taken out the top spot in our petrol and service station ratings for 2021, rating best for the price of petrol and overall satisfaction,
Here are the best petrol and service stations in Australia, as rated by consumers by order of overall satisfaction:
Most brands featured in our 2021 ratings, scored four stars for overall customer satisfaction, while Metro Petroleum received three stars overall. Puma Energy stood out for service, and appearance & cleanliness with five stars, while United Petroleum achieved the same for convenience.
Another notable mention is Coles Express Shell which rated five stars for its facilities, service, convenience, product range and appearance & cleanliness. There was also 7-Eleven which rated five stars for its convenience and range of non-car items for sale.
To help you decide which servo may be worth a visit, here is an overview of the service stations included in this year’s review.
Known for all things ‘bought in bulk’ and American, Costco is proving a real hit with Australians who like a bargain. Paying an annual membership fee of $55 will open up a world of discounts on all manner of foods, drinks and household items, as well as fuel. When Costco’s service station in North Lakes – north of Brisbane – first opened in 2014, motorists were lined up around the block to get the taste of cheaper fuel. It was a similar scenario across other sites in Australia. Costco offered generous per-litre discounts on its fuel at the opening, and now offers incentives for Costco members to save at the pump. So, in one trip, you can buy your jumbo-sized tub of Nutella and then fill up on discounted fuel. There are currently close to 40 wholesale Costco stores across Australia, of which nine have petrol stations.
A relative newcomer to the Aussie fuel market, Puma Energy is a company that also owns various ‘independent’ service stations such as Neumann Petroleum, Ausfuel Gull and Matilda. Puma has shot up in popularity in recent years and has an expansive fuel card system, café and convenience offering, not to mention supplying fuel to various mining sites across the country. In Western Australia, Puma has a partnership with RAC, and offers club members a 4c per litre discount on fuel. In Queensland, Puma has a similar partnership with RACQ, offering members the same 4c per litre discount on fuel.
United Petroleum was established in 1993 in South Australia and later expanded to service all other states. Being one of the largest independent fuel retailers in the country, United sells all manner of fuels, with a lot of locations even having the high-performance E85 fuel. Customers can also benefit from its many reward and fuel cards. United has over 400 locations nationwide and is known for providing ‘effective fuels at a competitive price’, often undercutting the bigger retailers by a cent or two per litre.
Differing from normal Shell service stations in that Coles owns the spot, with Shell supplying the petrol, Coles Express is well known for its 4c per litre discounts whereby shoppers who buy their groceries at a Coles supermarket can then get discounts at the pump. They can also scan their Flybuys rewards card to accumulate points and buy many of the same groceries available in a regular Coles store. Coles Express Shell is one of the most expansive fuel stations in Australia, with nearly 700 locations all up.
Competing against the juggernaut of the big two supermarkets, 7-Eleven’s partnership with Mobil brings many of the same features and discounts you have come to expect from a modern servo. Perhaps most noteworthy is its fuel price ‘lock-in’ app. You download the app for free (Apple or Android) and find out the best fuel price in your area. You can then lock this price in for seven days and use it at any 7-Eleven petrol station. This is especially useful with the wild fluctuations many Aussies experience at the bowser. You get the same great fuel Mobil is known for with 7-Eleven’s network of convenience stores – and yes, Slurpees.
It’s quite rare to find a service station that isn’t connected to a grocery or convenience store these days, but there are still a huge number of Shell-branded servos across Australia. Known for sponsoring various motorsports leagues around the globe, Shell is perhaps one of the largest fuel companies in the world, known for its ‘V Power’ high-performance 98-octane fuel. With well over 700 locations Australia-wide, Shell’s Motorist app lets you see special offers, track your loyalty card points and transactions, and helps you find your nearest Shell station.
Not to be confused with regular old Caltex service stations, Woolworths’ fuel locations also use Caltex fuels but aim to give you that ‘Woolies experience’ by offering other services such as car washes and groceries at the majority of locations. Woolworths Caltex has over 500 locations across the country, and with its well-known shopper docket discount program. Using the Everyday Rewards card program, customers also get one point for every dollar spent. Beyond that, customers can get access to Caltex’s range of fuels, including the Vortex range.
British Petroleum, or BP as it’s more commonly known, is a stalwart of the Australian fuel landscape. It has an extensive fuel card system, which has previously won our customer satisfaction award for Small Business Fuel Cards. For consumers, it’s perhaps best known for its presence in huge roadside truck stops and for its BP Ultimate 98-octane premium fuel. It has more than 1,400 locations across the country.
Liberty describes itself as a ‘competitive fuel alternative’ in a fuel market dominated by several large, multi-national corporations. Not only does Liberty supply independent fuel retailers, but it also runs its own-branded service stations across the country, with a particular focus on regional areas. Promising to be competitive on price, Liberty says it’s not into expensive self-promotion, instead focussing its efforts on delivering great service.
Quick side note – we’ve combined Caltex and Ampol under the same brand in our 2021 ratings. Caltex is reviving the iconic Ampol brand and is in the process of transitioning its network of over 1,900 Caltex sites to instead trade under the Ampol name. The brand says the Ampol name reflects the company’s deep local heritage and is deeply trusted by Australian consumers.
Caltex/Ampol boasts a strong presence in Australia, since the Australian Motorists Petrol Company, which later became Ampol, was established in 1936. Caltex/Ampol is known for its ‘Vortex’ series of 98-octane fuels which have an engine-cleaning additive – along with rust and foam inhibitors – to keep your engine ticking along nicely, in addition to the StarCard, which can help you save on petrol and other goodies when you stop to fill up.
Metro Petroleum boasts a large network of over 250 metro locations – and is one of the largest independent fuel stations in Australia. It offers a comprehensive fuel card system akin to that of larger retailers, as well as a range of bulk-buy discounts. Founded more than 40 years ago, Metro has expanded to around 200 locations today. Just because it’s independent, doesn’t mean it lags behind the big guys, with car washes, convenience stores and all the facilities you’d expect with any large fuel station.
Price may not entirely dictate where you decide to fill up your car, but there’s no doubt that we’d all like to pay a little less at the pump. Over a quarter of respondents (26%) said that the cost of fuel is a major strain on their finances, up from 23% in our last survey. However, many customers are not exactly helping themselves, with 28% admitting that they usually fill up at the same petrol station regardless of the price. Some are more proactive at chasing lower prices than others – 21% have an app that allows them to monitor fuel prices and 23% would be willing to drive a little further if it meant saving money.
Getting a good deal on petrol is made more complicated by pricing cycles, with the cheapest days to buy often varying between cities and even suburbs. To help you find a cheaper price the next time you’re running on empty, the ACCC updates its price cycle website on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, although also states that which days are the cheapest for petrol can change from cycle to cycle. For those in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, it may be best to find out which stage of the price cycle you’re in, while those in Perth have it a bit easier, with Mondays typically the cheapest day due to a more predictable pricing cycle.
While this is a helpful, high-level, guide to costs, it should be noted that fuel prices can and will vary between individual service stations – sometimes just a short distance apart.
Keeping an eye on petrol prices in your area is certainly a smart move. But your decision on where to fill up could also come down to personal preference. Here is a summary of the key findings from our survey in 2021.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of just filling up your vehicle at the nearest service station, but try to treat the process of buying fuel like paying for any other product or service. Be sure to shop around for a good price, and make sure you take advantage of any rewards programs that can help you save a buck or two. If you don’t think you’re getting a good deal at your regular servo, try to drive past another one on your way home from work. You might even find the all-around experience is a lot better.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: intararit/shutterstock.com (infographic), VGstockstudio/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have refuelled a motor vehicle at a service station in the last month – in this case, 1,921 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Here are the past winners of Canstar Blue’s petrol and service station review:
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