The light for motorists in the lockdown tunnel

The empty streets of Bloemfontein CBD on Day 1 of the initial 21-day lockdown.
The empty streets of Bloemfontein CBD on Day 1 of the initial 21-day lockdown.

An analyses by car-tracking company Tracker has showed that South Africans have saved between R100 and R1,800 a month on fuel during lockdown.

Tracker’s anonymised vehicle-tracking data indicates that, on average, reduced use of passenger vehicles saved 1,150km of driving, 30 hours on the road and R1,350 on fuel during the first month of lockdown. This is compared with the average kilometres driven, time spent on the road and money spent on fuel during the month before lockdown.

Image: Nolo Moima

People who travelled more before lockdown stood to gain greater savings than those with lower mileages.

On average, passenger vehicles previously travelling less than 500km a month saved four hours on the road and R100 on fuel, while those with a typical mileage of 1,500km to 2,000km a month saved 40 hours in drive time and R1,800 on fuel.

For further comparison, 500 to 1,000km and 1,000 to 1,500km drivers saved, respectively, 20 and 30 hours on the road, and R750 and R1,250 in fuel spend.

In time-saving on the road, where fewer trips played a role and getting from point A to B was quicker due to less traffic, benefits differed across municipalities.

Image: Nolo Moima

Cape Town experienced the biggest saving (36 hours), followed by Johannesburg and Polokwane (33 hours), then Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and eThekwini (31 hours), and Rustenburg (28 hours).

Across the country, the trend during lockdown was greater use of smaller vehicles, particularly by households with more than one vehicle.

Image: Nolo Moima

In Johannesburg, the shift in travel in small vehicles was from 65% before lockdown to 70% during lockdown. Durban experienced a similar shift, from 66% to 70%, while Tshwane went from 58% to 62%. For Cape Town, which has the greatest use of smaller vehicles, the shift was from 71% to 73%.

“With many vehicles standing idle during lockdown it is not surprising that motorists have saved a lot of time and money during this period,” says Michael du Preez, product and marketing executive at Tracker South Africa.

“Unfortunately, with travel significantly curtailed, many motorists would not have been able to take advantage of savings from the record fuel price decrease during April, which was close to R2 for petrol and more than R1 for diesel.”