Motorists are going to the dangerous measure of storing cheap fuel at home to help reduce bowser bill shock when prices rise.
A survey of RAA members has found one in 10 motorists not only topped up their tanks when prices bottomed out – they also filled empty 20-litre jerry cans to store at home or in the boot.
The motoring organisation asked 1401 of its members how they had coped with recent fuel price fluctuations of up to 40c a litre and found 95 per cent were concerned about prices.
“It’s certainly a safety concern that 10 per cent of motorists surveyed are filling up jerry cans with petrol, when the cycle hits its low point, to beat the price spikes,’’ RAA Future Mobility senior manager Mark Borlace said.
“Petrol is dangerous, so we’d always recommend that motorists make safe choices and ensure they use containers designed and approved for storing fuel and stow and transport these securely in their vehicle.”
Householders are legally allowed to store 120 litres of one of the most dangerous fuels – like unleaded petrol – on their properties but not under the main roof of the home.
The RAA survey found that, in the past two years, almost half of respondents (46.5 per cent) were driving less often and more than two in 10 (22.6 per cent) took shorter trips to cope with the bill shock.
It also found fuel prices were affecting future vehicle purchases with 46.7 per cent saying they would buy the cheapest car to run.
Four out of 10 members surveyed used the traditional strategy of only topping up the tank when fuel prices were lower.
Mr Borlace said for typical households with a couple of cars “fuel was likely to be the largest energy bill in their annual budget’’.
“It’s no surprise that many people are taking steps to reduce these fuel costs, especially when prices can jump up to 30 per cent within days,’’ he said.
“The survey shows the effect of high fuel prices is wider than the hip-pocket – people are changing their lifestyles and the way they’re using transport.’’
More commonly, motorist strategies to save money include using more public transport (30.4 per cent), not using air conditioning (16.6 per cent), delaying vehicle maintenance (15 per cent), and ride sharing (5.7 per cent).
Mr Borlace said it was worrying that motorists were avoiding or delaying their car maintenance.
“It can be a false economy because if you don’t service your vehicle you may miss a problem that could go from a small bill to a big bill down the track,’’ he said.
There were 23.4 per cent of those surveyed who would now consider a hybrid vehicle option, while 16.8 per cent would look at an electric car.
When choosing where to re-fuel, fuel price was the most important factor in the survey, followed by the ability to check the fuel price before refuelling, which is now done by 44 per cent of motorists.
Extracted from Adelaide Now