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Discovery Insure’s new Drive Trends data show fuel price increases costs us more than we think

Discovery Insure’s new Drive Trends data show fuel price increases costs us more than we think
01-12-23 / Tau kaVodloza

Discovery Insure’s new Drive Trends data show fuel price increases costs us more than we think

Johannesburg - Discovery Insure's latest Drive Trends Report reveals that fuel price hikes have implications on South Africans' daily lives. Many consumers are spending more at the pump than they used to but getting fewer litres of fuel in total. It is no surprise then that many are taking fewer work trips per month. The data also reveals interesting findings into driving behaviour in different provinces and speeding behaviour - showing an increase in speeding incidents, especially on weekends.

The Drive Trends Report, released on 30 November 2023, analysed the driving behaviour of over 240,000 drivers on Discovery Insure's Vitality Drive programme. The data, gathered between January and October 2023, resoundingly confirms that clients' purchasing behaviour changes when the fuel price changes.

The latest data shows that when the fuel price is around R22 per litre, the average client spends around R1,950 per month. However, when the fuel price increases above R24 per litre, clients spend around R2,150 each month and get almost 3 litres less in fuel. In the current environment, this puts additional financial pressure on clients and by extension, on South Africans.

"Discovery Insure is helping clients beat the increasing cost of fuel by rewarding them with up to 50% of their fuel spend back for driving well. So, when the price of fuel goes up clients can earn more in fuel rewards every month," says Robert Attwell, CEO at Discovery Insure.

Given the financial pressure many are facing, it was not surprising to see that there is a change in consumer driving behaviour. On average, clients are now taking 5 less work trips per month compared to one year ago.

Provinces with denser traffic conditions have higher fuel consumption.

The data also shows that clients in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have an average fuel consumption that is nearly 1 litre per 100km more than that of clients in the other provinces. This is a result of worse traffic in these regions compared to other provinces.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, i.e., how much fuel is consumed per kilometre driven, Limpopo drivers top the charts with an average fuel consumption of 6 litres per 100km. By comparison, if Gauteng drivers had the same fuel efficiency as Limpopo drivers, they could save almost 20% of their fuel bill every month!

Western Cape drivers and women speed the least.

Discovery Insure's Vitality Drive programme has been using telematics to measure driver behaviour for more than a decade now. It rewards clients for driving well through incentives that include the most competitive cash back on fuel spend in the market.

Vitality Drive clients earn points based on how well they drive. The more Vitality Drive points a client earns, the higher their Vitality Drive status, and the more rewards and benefits they get. Clients start each day with 60 points, and, using the principle of loss aversion, Discovery Insure deducts points throughout the day for poor driving behaviours such accelerating, braking and cornering harshly, as well as cell phone use and speeding.

Of these driving behaviours, the Drive Trends Report reveals that speeding is the worst driving behaviour among clients, as drivers lose most of their points for driving too fast compared to other poor driving behaviours. Drivers who claim lose as much as 83% more points from speeding than those who don't claim. The data also showed that people speed 50% more on weekends compared to weekdays suggesting that less traffic could contribute to this behaviour. People aged between 30 and 35 speed the most.

"This data is powerful because it tells a story. Speeding remains stubbornly high. It is concerning to see from the data that many South Africans, particularly those in their early to mid-thirties, still tend to drive too fast on our roads," says Attwell.

Alongside the fuel price and its financial constraints implications, the report also confirms something else many of us already knew: It shows that Western Cape drivers and women, nationally, speed the least. "In fact, women lose 30% less points for speeding compared to men," says Attwell.

Most people leave for work at 6:45am, and they can optimise their ETA.

Attwell adds that the Drive Trends Report shows that on weekdays, the peak driving time for the morning is 6:45 am, indicating that most people start work, in-office, between 7am and 8am. He also notes that, using Discovery's data, South Africans can optimise their workday estimated time of arrival (ETAs) by changing their departure time. Instead of starting a trip between 7am and 8am, drivers can spend 14% less time on the road by leaving the house between 6am and 7am, and 11% if they leave after 8am. We all know that every minute stuck in traffic counts, especially during load-shedding and with the price of fuel. 

The Vitality Drive programme continues to help shift driving behaviours for the better through clients' engagement, and not only does Vitality Drive help make our roads safer, but a much-needed fuel cash back benefit also helps clients' wallets.

"Discovery has paid over R1.8 billion in fuel cash back to drivers", says Attwell. "Along with the latest Drive Trends Report findings – which give valuable insight so we can create better experiences and products for our clients – Vitality Drive provides tangible value, like easing the impact of the fuel price, and ultimately, helping to drive change." 

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