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Consumer Reaction To Fuel Price Pressures

Consumer Reaction To Fuel Price Pressures

‘Fuel for thought’ as drivers ponder options according to Nielsen report on online fuel discussions

Auckland, 30 July 2008 – The rising cost of fuel is forcing New Zealanders to make adjustments to the way they travel, according to a study of online conversations by Internet measurement company Nielsen Online.

A report on the buzz surrounding recent developments in the New Zealand fuel industry compiled by Nielsen Online using its recently launched BuzzMetrics service, has revealed the following. Among those consumers who are discussing fuel online, 14 percent say that they are driving less in order to fight the escalating costs. Some kiwis are halving the number of wheels on their mode of transport with seven percent saying they are using a bike or scooter in order to save on fuel, which is more than those 6 percent who say they do not plan on making any lifestyle adjustments to help foot the bill.

The study monitoring online conversations around fuel in the second quarter (Q2) of 2008 (refer Chart 1), also prompted discussion by these same consumers around government and/or taxes with 14 percent saying that government needs to reduce petrol taxes in order to help make fuel more affordable for the population. However, some of these consumers stand by the government and say that fuel prices are out of its control.

Consumers having these fuel discussions mention a variety of factors that make it more difficult to get by in the current economic climate. While interest rates and property costs are on the rise, as well as fuel costs, wages are not following suit. 5 percent of these consumers are saying that they are experiencing hardship in the face of rising prices and standard of living; or know of others who are in this predicament.

“I honestly don't know where we're headed. Money is tight in my house right now, and the rising cost of groceries isn't helping, nor is the rising cost of fuel! Any decrease in price would be beneficial at this point. I honestly don't know where New Zealand is heading, but I'm hoping it doesn't get as bad as I hear it is in other countries. We just couldn't afford that.”
Nielsen BuzzMetrics, July 2008

The top topics of discussion for fuel prices are reflected in Chart 1.

See... full release with chart (PDF)

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