Saturday, May 24, 2008

What price is your limit?

Image from

An article in the West Australian newspaper has claimed that up to 30% of motorists will stop driving if petrol prices stay over $1.50/l.

"Up to 30 per cent of motorists will leave their car in the garage if petrol stays over $1.50, a survey has found.

With prices in Perth to average a record 151.3¢ a litre today, the RAC survey found $1.50 a litre is the last straw for most of the State’s drivers, with many saying they would switch to public transport or use another form of getting about."

Have you thought about what your limit is in your own household? I haven't really put a dollar figure on it but I do know that it's affecting how often we drive. I've been pretty good about combining trips and not making unnecessary long ones, but now even the short trips are getting examined to see if they're necessary. We used to go to a few libraries in various suburbs - now we stick to the one closest to home. We have 2 days that we "have" to go out - Tuesday is drama day and Thursday is Billy's swimming lesson. I try to fit all trips into those days when we're out anyway. Extra days out are carefully thought out now.

Pete drives to the train station and catches the train to work most days. I've looked into Billy & I catching the train when we go to Newcastle for his drama lesson, but two things are stopping me at the moment - it would cost about the same as the petrol cost (esp since we'd need to drive to the nearest train station first - about 8kms away) and secondly, during winter we'd be catching the train home at night which from a safety perspective I'm not thrilled with. I'm going to re-examine this one when summer comes though.

Bus travel isn't really an option either without driving to a bus station - there are none within a reasonable walking distance (nearest is about 3km away) - well reasonable to me with a 5yo anyway!

At the moment I'm just cutting down driving where I can and absorbing the increases in the budget. As much as I'm reluctant to do it, I may need to re-examine which activities Billy does in the future, and transfer him to ones closer to home.

Because as much as it hurts, cheap petrol prices won't be back..


libby said...

I drive a hybrid car which certainly helps and I try and walk to and from school. It only takes 15mins but most parents seem to drive their kids - all our neighbours do.
Kevin was just telling me the other day they are predicting that by 2040 fuel will only be available to the military..... very scray stuff indeed. Don't know why they don't start rationing now if that's the case.


Katrina said...

It will be interesting to see what happens with this latest lot of price rises. I know the last time the prices went up there was less petrol sold at a servo where a friend of mine works for several months and then things went back to normal. I know for us here in the countr without the public transport you have to find a way to work with it. I know i am seeing more people sharing the driving with going to the weekend sport etc. I can drive 1 1/2 hours some weekends (and that's just one way) I think people will get smarter with how they do things. There wont be the several trips to the supermarket (we will see more planning so that only one trip happens)

naturewitch said...

Hi Kez

We live in Canberra and so are fortunate to have public transport close to home. It is, in fact, easier and more relaxing for me to jump on a bus to go to work than it is to drive there.

My partner and I have been "bussing" regularly for a couple of years now and we've certainly noticed the increase in people using public transport. I've also noticed more people resorting to more fuel efficient transport like motor scooters and there are definitely more bicycles on the road.

love and light

Kin said...

I have often thought about this, but can come up with no easy answer.

We live in a country area. The shops are a handy 2 minute drive away, and I could walk there BUT: a) the quickest way involves not only crossing a busy 4 lane main road, but then also walking along the side of the road as there's no footpath, or even grassed area to walk on. There are two creeks to cross with no bridges. Oh, and I have 3 kids.

Public transport to another place I go (swimming pool in the next town over 4 times a week) would cost $8 each way, for me and the two older kids - so $48 a trip x 4 times a week = $192 a week. I currently put less than $60 fuel in my car a week.

The other place we go is daycare, which again is walkable distance, but no footpaths and too far for 3 small children.

My other option is to upgrade our car (which will need doing soon anyway). The problem (which I plan on blogging about soon) is that no car that comfortably fits 3 kids still in car seats is at all fuel efficient, or environmentally friendly. I have the 3 smallest carseats on the market, and my choices are a large sedan/wagon such as falcon, commadore, camry. The larger 4wd's such as Territory, Captiva, Klugar, Prado, Landcruiser etc.

So I'm really at a loss to know what to do about it all. I guess if it really came down to it, if it cost me $192 to fill my tank a week, I'd look at ditching the car and bussing it. Then of course I need to consider school next year - 5 minute drive each way. Some 5km which is too far for 3 kids. Espeically as the now 3 year old (then 4 year old) will have to walk there and back (there is no school bus).