The prevailing high prices of fuel have not only affected the movements of private car owners, it has also altered their lives in ways no one expected.
In this episode of the JoyNews Living Standard Series, it was found that cost of fuel is top most – apart from food – on the budget of many car owners.
One of such car owners, called Maverick, indicated that due to the high prices, his movements have drastically reduced and his social life is out of gear.
After closing from work, each day, Maverick makes sure he picks up his wife in order to cut down on the transport charges.
He has been driving his father’s GMC Terrain for about two weeks and the fuel consumption is stretching his budget.
In the past week alone, he spent more than GH¢1,000 on fuel for his rounds.
He called a friend to cushion him when his fuel gauge went down but, unfortunately, his friend’s situation was not any better.
He lives in Tema and works at Spintex. His wife works at Weija. He drops her at the Accra Mall before continuing to his office.
With his everyday commute, his Toyota Vitz consumes an average of GH¢400 fuel weekly – a year ago, the same amount for fuel was spent monthly.
The situation has forced Maverick and his wife to make some hard decisions. They have had to re-calculate their budget such that it reduces their movement.
As much as possible, they avoid casual outings except for work and emergencies.
“Entertainment or recreational luxuries are really out of the question – it is work, home, work, home. We don’t really go out just to make sure we save fuel and, at times, we have to shop. If we’re going to shop for groceries, what my wife will do is that we will sit down, draft the list and then she’s like ‘I will get the groceries and stuff.’
“What I can do to help her… if I am working, it means that sometimes I would try and close from work early so I can pick her up from the market just so that we reduce the cost of her taking the stuff from the market and bringing them to the house because it’s really far away,” he said.
It has even affected their social life. He seldom sees his friends physically because of fuel consumption.
Their meetings now are mostly virtual hangouts and phone calls.
“We have a group from back in school; so, the idea was that we would have probably met to sit down and have few drinks and meetings but it never happened.”
Maverick is one of many hoping for a stable fuel pricing system because it will afford him an allowance to plan well and get his social life back.
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