How is fuel price rise pinching your pocket?

People fret about increase in essential expenses and tell us their ways of coping with it

Petrol prices, which were hovering around ₹70 a litre at the beginning of the year, surged above ₹80 per litre in May. Surging above $70 per barrel for the first time since November 2014, crude oil prices pushed up domestic fuel prices. Though petrol prices have eased over the last few weeks, it is still at much higher levels compared with what it was at the beginning of the year.

So, how has this surge in fuel prices impacted the common man’s budget? Portfolio sounded out to a few people to find out how the petrol price rise has increased their expenses.

Increase in expenses

Fuel is one of the unavoidable expenses for any individual. No doubt, the continuous increase in petrol prices has been pinching the pocket of the common man. Rajesh, Zonal Manager, at a leading financial service company in Tiruchirapalli, says, “I used to spend about ₹6,000 on petrol earlier. But now, the fuel cost has increased to over ₹8,000 a month”.

Similarly, Soma M Ghorai, an associate professor, is concerned about the sharp hike in fuel prices over a period of time. “A few years back, I used to fill my vehicle fuel tank and use it for an entire month. Now, I have to spend ₹3,000 every fortnight for fuel”, says Soma. Many people have started using their two-wheelers, thanks to the surge in fuel cost. Kasirajan, Project Manager in a Bengaluru-based logistic firm says, “I have shifted from four-wheeler to two-wheeler for commuting from my home to office. I don’t have a metro train service in my location; so, two-wheeler is the best choice to cut down my fuel expense”.

Increase in fuel price will have an impact on other commodity prices too, as it increases the cost at different levels — such as input, transport etc.

So, some common daily expenses of an individual have also increased. “Hike in fuel prices have a direct impact on our essential commodities, because of which my monthly budget has also gone up”, says Kasirajan.

“A year ago I used to give ₹15,000 a month to my spouse for expenses. But now, I have to shell out ₹20,000 a month as the prices from groceries to vegetables and other essentials have gone up”, adds Rajesh.

Using public transport

Most of the people we spoke to agree that using public transport can curtail fuel expense. “I don’t prefer to use the car for personal use these days; instead, I use the metro as I have that option”, says Soma.

For those who do not have access to a metro or a local train, sharing transport can be an alternative way to bring down the fuel expense.

“I have not used car pooling, but have heard that it is a good way to save on fuel and money”, says Kasirajan. Rajesh, on the other hand, has taken it as an opportunity to stay fit. He walks to near-by shops and other places close to his home.

“I have started walking to places near my home instead of using my two-wheeler”, says Rajesh. He adds that one can reduce fuel expense by using public transportand by developing good driving skills.

Tips to save fuel

What Rajesh says is correct. Irrespective of whether fuel prices rise or fall, there are certain driving skills that can be developed and used; this can help save on fuel. Karthikeyan, Manager (Designing department) with an automobile manufacturer in Chennai, says, “only 30 per cent of the fuel is used to run a car and the rest 70 per cent is used for accessories such as AC, electronics and battery etc”.

So, according to him, managing the accessories in the car prudently can help save fuel. “AC consumes 8 per cent of the fuel; so I switch it off much ahead of the destination”, says Karthikeyan. He adds that maintaining the correct air pressure in the wheels and driving with the windows closed, especially on highways, can optimise fuel consumption.

True, according to a car-care manual from Maruti Suzuki, fuel consumption will increase by 5 to 10 per cent if the tyres run with even 25 per cent less pressure.

Using the clutch and brake optimally can reduce fuel consumption, according to Santosh, Manager (Body Building department) with an automobile company in Chennai. He says that one should not rush and apply brakes heavily to stop a vehicle, while approaching a traffic signal or a speed breaker.

“I always anticipate the distance of the signal or a speed breaker, stop accelerating well in advance and apply the brake slowly to stop the vehicle. By following this method, the mileage of my vehicle has improved by about 2 km”, says Santosh.

Even a small change in the way we drive can help us save fuel and money over the long term.

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