Drivings stats show how wheels are coming off economy

South Africans are driving less due to the rising cost of living.
South Africans are driving less due to the rising cost of living.
Image: FILE

Consumers are driving and shopping up to 10% less than a year ago.

A 25% petrol price increase in the year to July led to motorists driving 8% fewer kilometres‚ making 5% fewer visits to shopping centres and going to service stations 10% less‚ either for fuel or shopping.

The behaviour changes‚ revealed in a survey of 250‚000 vehicles by property data company Lightstone and Tracker‚ are expected to become more pronounced as fuel prices increase further‚ said Lightstone Explore MD Trevor Holmes.

Banks and property experts say rising fuel bills and rising inflation are intensifying the demand for homes close to work‚ shops and schools.

Rudi Botha‚ CEO of Betterbond‚ said: “Young professionals opt for inner-city areas and integrated suburbs where they can walk to work as well as to shops‚ restaurants‚ entertainment venues and gym — and often dispense with owning a car altogether. The rise of ride-hailing services such as Uber is furthering this trend.”

Andrew Golding‚ CEO of Pam Golding Property Group‚ said fuel hikes had resulted in a growing demand for “live‚ work‚ play hubs ... where people can walk to work and have all amenities and leisure activities right on their doorsteps”.

The vehicles in the Tracker survey made 500 million trips and covered more than seven billion kilometres between July 2017 and June 2018.

The lowest daily distance travelled was recorded in June‚ and Holmes said the survey results indicated more drivers were using public transport‚ car-pooling or working from home.

The falls in shopping centre and service station visits pointed to a general economic decline‚ he said‚ adding that the fall in weekend travel was more pronounced than in commuter journeys.

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