While one in three New South Wales motorists (33%) said they would stop using their car to commute to work if petrol prices reach $1.75 per litre, a further 48% said they have already reduced their car usage due to rising petrol prices, according to a nationwide survey by low-cost car insurance provider, Budget Direct.
The Budget Direct Petrol Price survey, with more than 2,500 responses, further reveals that 54% of motorists have already considered trading their current vehicle for a more fuel-efficient model and a further 7% have already done something about it.
Associate director for Budget Direct, Jonathan Kerr said if petrol prices continue to rise and more motorists are forced to consider public transport, the current New South Wales commuter crush could get a lot worse.
“This morning the crude oil price on the US Futures market set an all time high of $119.90, representing an 88 per cent rise from a year ago. It looks like prices at the pump are likely to continue their upward trend, which may well force more motorists to rely on a public transport system that is already close to capacity.
“Late last year the Auditor General revealed public transport overcrowding nearly doubled from 9% of services in NSW in 2006 to 16% of services in 2007. If petrol prices rise rapidly and 33% of New South Wales commuters suddenly turn to public transport the ramifications could cripple the system,” Mr Kerr said.
The survey results also identified that 26% of NSW motorists claim petrol prices would have to go over $2.25 per litre before they would consider not using their car to commute to work compared to 27% in QLD and 29% in VIC.
And 37% of motorists in both NSW and QLD said they were happy to pay the current fuel prices because they like their car, compared to 38% in VIC.
Mr Kerr recognises that motorists who are unaffected by the rising petrol prices are those who drive company cars or have access to adequate public transport, and those who can either walk or ride to work. For some motorists public transport simply isn’t an option.