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World fights: Buses, car pools

As a per a study, 49% Indian car-owners say they will drive less often in case of hiked fuel prices, writes Sushmita Bose.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 09:57 IST

Another hike in petrol and diesel prices and less number of Indians will take out their cars. More say they will go in for car pools or public transport rather than burn money on fuel.

According to market-tracker AC Nielsen's latest quantitative Online Consumer Confidence Survey, 49 per cent of Indian car-owners say they will opt for driving less frequently if the fuel prices were hiked. And 36 per cent say they would try and "combine trips" (car pools).

The survey -- which polled more than 23,500 Internet users across 42 countries -- says 82 per cent of consumers worldwide are feeling "the hit (rising fuel prices) to their wallets".

Around 36 per cent of Indians say that an "increase in fuel prices will affect them very badly". Indonesians will be "worst affected" at 59 per cent, followed by Hungary (58 per cent) and South Africa (53 per cent).

With the widespread apprehension that fuel prices will go up by at least Rs 3 a litre, probably from this week itself, more Indians are thinking of opting for public transport. Around 30 per cent Indians see this as a viable alternative. In this section, the Koreans are "most keen" at 53 per cent while the Japanese clearly do not rely on public transport (only 10 per cent voted for it).

There is also the trade-off option: exchange your gas-guzzler for a more fuel-efficient variant. Sarang Panchal, ED (Customised) AC Nielsen, South Asia, says, "An opportunity exists for car marketers in where almost 14 per cent of consumers are eager to consider trading their vehicle for a more fuel-efficient one."

"With the global hike in oil prices year after year, we can expect consumer demand to further develop in this direction," Panchal says.

Overall in Asia Pacific, 83 per cent consumers "acknowledge their dependence on fuel prices". Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines top the list at 95 per cent. Taiwan and Malaysia are next in the line with 90 per cent admitting so.