The removal of fuel subsidies by the Federal Government in Nigeria has had a significant impact on vehicle owners in the country. Many well-off Nigerians are now opting to switch from big sedans and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) with engine capacities ranging from 3.0 to 5.7 liters to smaller cars with engine capacities ranging from 1.4 to 2.0 liters. This shift is driven by the need to reduce fuel consumption and cope with the rising costs of fuel.
Car owners in the higher engine capacity category are now favoring smaller vehicles such as the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Honda City, 2.0-liter Accord, Toyota Avensis, Toyota Corolla Verso, and small SUVs like the 2.0-liter Toyota RAV4 and the 2.0-liter Honda CRV.
As a result of the fuel subsidy removal, owners of bigger vehicles have changed their driving habits. They are now less likely to use their air conditioners while driving to conserve fuel. Additionally, car owners are buying less fuel than before, often filling up only a quarter tank instead of half or more. The situation has led to fuel attendants receiving fewer tips from drivers, impacting their income.
For example, car owners who previously filled their tanks with N11,000 (Nigerian Naira) or more are now buying just a quarter tank with the same amount. Luxury cars like the BMW X6, 7 Series, Range Rover Autobiography, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which used to fill their tanks with N16,000, now get less than a quarter tank for the same amount.
Due to the rising costs of fuel, some car owners have opted to use public transportation instead of driving their bigger vehicles. This has led to a surge in small car sales, particularly Toyota models known for their fuel economy and durability.
Despite the cost-saving measures, some car owners are concerned about the state of Nigerian roads and the potential repair costs associated with using smaller cars on poorly maintained roads. However, others remain hopeful that the situation will improve in the future, and they may return to using their bigger cars for specific occasions or long trips.
The shift towards smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles demonstrates the impact of fuel subsidy removal on consumer behavior and vehicle choices in Nigeria.