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2018-08-28 14:46

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South African consumers have been hit hard by fuel increases in 2018.

According to economists, South African motorists should prepare to dish out an exorbitant R17.90 by the end of 2018 and up to R20 at the end of 2019.

Curbing the costs

Although the minister of energy, Jeff Radebe, is looking into action plans to reduce fuel costs, for the time being, many road users are looking for ways to curb costs.

SEE: SA's record high petrol price got you down? Here's how much Southern African neighbouring countries pay for their fuel

Data specialists Lightstone and Tracker partnered to uncover the effect of fuel increases on consumers in SA.

The graph illustrates fuel price increases over the last year.

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"Lightstone and Tracker have developed an economic monitoring report based on a sample of 250 000 vehicles active over the last 12 months running from July 2017 to June 2018.

These vehicles, says the organisations, are representative of the entire country and have cumulatively travelled over "seven billion kilometres, in over 500-million trips in the last 12 months," Michael Du Preez, product and marketing executive at tracker, said.

Lightstone's analysis shows that the distances covered by motorists were down 8% in June 2018 compared to July 2017, with June 2018 having the lowest distance travelled per day for the entire period.

SEE: As South Africans face record high fuel prices here's what motorists are paying for petrol around the globe

According to Trevor Holmes, Managing Director at Lightstone Explore, this could indicate that travellers are "making alternative travel arrangements such as carpooling, public transport or perhaps opting to work from home.

During the 2017 December holiday period weekend travel increased but from January 2018 the average weekend travel declined even more than the average weekday travel.

Mileage decline countrywide

Retail Activity

When comparing different activities of 1000 shopping centres and more than 3 200 service stations across South Africa, a sharp decline can be seen from 2017 to 2018.

The reports state: "Lightstone discovered that visits to shopping centres in the first half of 2018 was 5% lower than the last half of 2017, and this decline holds true even when the effect of December shopping and January Retail slowdown is excluded from the comparison.

                                                                      Image: iStock

"The decline has not been equally severe at all shopping centres with Fourways Mall experiencing the biggest decline, possibly due to renovations at the centre."

Comparison of shopping centre visits over the last year.

Service stations had an even more severe drop of 10% lower than a year ago.  The service station industry is not showing any positive upturn with June 2018 being the worst month over the last 12 months. A 10% decrease in service station stops is experienced between July 2017 and June 2018.

The increase in March 2018 is possibly the result of Easter weekend travel.

"We must remember that service stations fill a dual purpose of various retail activities and of filling up with fuel.

The drop in visits is therefore indicative of people not requiring as much fuel as often and also in part that the retail activity at these service stations has decreased," Holmes said.

Service station activity over the last year

BP, Sasol and Total experienced a bigger drop in visits while Engen had the lowest drop. Engen and Shell had a marginal increase in market share from Q3 in 2017 to Q2 in 2018.

According to Holmes, the travel patterns of these 250 000 vehicles is an indicator of the population: "More so, the patterns seen in driver behaviours are an indicator of what is be expected of the months to come." 

Holmes concludes that consumers will continue to look for alternatives and driving for leisure will decrease as is already clear from more severe drops being experienced in weekend travel than in week travel.

*figure excluded holiday skewed December/January period

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