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Searches for hybrid vehicles such as this Toyota Rav4 Hybrid have gained momentum over the last few months. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Searches for hybrid vehicles such as this Toyota Rav4 Hybrid have gained momentum over the last few months. Picture: SUPPLIED.

With fuel price havoc affecting consumer wallets, car-buying patterns are changing. Now fuel type is fast becoming a relevant factor in car searches.

“Year-on-year searches using the fuel type filter increased 28.94% for the period January to April 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Arguably this is indicative of the effect that the ongoing fuel hikes are having on consumer consideration,” says AutoTrader CEO George Mienie.

When comparing searches for diesel engine cars from January to April, there has been a decline from 2-million to 1.8-million. There is a similar downward trend with petrol car searches declining from 800,000 to 680,000, said AutoTrader.

Hybrid and electric car searches however gained momentum, both trending upwards from 102,000 (January) to 118,000 (April), and 66,500 to 80,400 respectively, unsurprising perhaps given the global mayhem around fuel prices and supply, as well as the vehicle industry’s transformation towards electrification.

Exotic sports car BMW i8, local SUV favourite Toyota Corolla Cross and the Ferrari SF90 were the top three most viewed hybrid models when using the fuel filter, while the Audi RS e-tron GT (pinnacle of Audi’s e-tron line-up), quirky BMW i3 and Audi e-tron scored among the electric models, reports AutoTrader.

However, top of the pops in total search volume when using the fuel filter for the month of April was diesel, at 67.90%.

Little wonder the interest in diesel cars. Historically diesel fuel costs less than petrol, you get more mileage on the same amount of fuel, and the diesel price is not regulated so consumers can shop around for fuel outlets for even cheaper prices.

Coupled with this, today’s diesel-powered car is not the “dirty diesel” of the past. Courtesy of improved fuel quality and new engine technologies, pollutants have been significantly reduced. 

When using the fuel type filter, the top three most viewed diesel models for the period January to April, were robust and fuel conscious bakkies, the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, and a large family-friendly SUV, the Toyota Fortuner. Among petrol models for the same period, the affordable and fuel-efficient Volkswagen Polo, hot hatchback VW Golf and luxury sedan BMW 3 Series claimed victory.

TimesLIVE

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