A new survey by insurer NRMA has found that rising fuel costs are having a major impact on motorists and families, adding to the strain of increased living costs.
Surveying nearly 1400 members in New South Wales as part of its annual More4Members report, the NRMA found that a substantial increase in living costs has moved many families to consider relocating out of Sydney.
NRMA Group CEO Tony Stuart said the falling Australian dollar has also impacted on fuel bills, with pump prices increasing by around nine cents per litre for every 10 cents lost to the US dollar.
“Our survey also found that more than half (53%) noticed a substantial increase in travel costs, including fuels," Mr Stuart said.
“The pressure of rising household costs means people are turning to their credit cards to help cope with the pressure."
The results showed that more than 34 percent of members are relying more on their credit cards to cover fuel bills and living costs, and 44 percent are considering moving out of Sydney to avoid increasing costs.
Some 38 percent said they had noticed a substantial increase in car maintenance costs, with 81 percent noticing some increase compared to 12 months ago.
Away from the fuel pump, 81 percent of respondents said they use discount vouchers when they shopped, while 67 percent agreed with the statement that supermarkets had increased prices to recoup escalating petrol discounts.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) hit out at Coles and Woolworths over fears that fuel discounts - reaching 45 cents per litre in recent weeks - will have a dramatic impact on competition in the market.
Lower discount rates could also have a long-term impact on competition within the fuel market, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“Even at the level of eight cents, it would be difficult to see how an unsubsidised fuel retailer could compete on a sustainable basis. Now, the discounts are substantially higher,” Mr Sims said.
Mr Sims stated that the ACCC had no power to ban shopper docket discounts but was currently undertaking an investigation, which started last year.