The COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are still having an impact on the world’s economy, and things are looking bleak and uncertain. Rising inflation and issues regarding an economic recovery are being exacerbated by this. It has increased the possibility of stagflation, which might have negative effects on both middle- and low-income economies. Oil demand fell precipitously in 2020 due to the pandemic and lockdowns. Caused a significant decline in economic activity, which caused the price to drop below zero for the first time in history.
Following a solid economic rebound following the lockdowns in 2021, oil prices have since increased significantly. End of February 2022 saw Russia invade Ukraine, shattering the already shaky energy sector. As prices for all goods and services have reached decades-high levels, energy costs are a big factor.
Being an oil-importing nation, Pakistan’s economy has also been impacted by the global rise in fuel prices, which has compelled the government to drastically raise fuel prices for consumers in order to satisfy the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) requirements for the revival of the loan program Pakistan signed with the organization to stabilize the economy.
Widespread public criticism was leveled at the unusual and significant increase in fuel costs and energy tariffs since it will only make people’s miseries, which are already being exacerbated by galloping inflation, much worse.
The cost of basic products has increased due to growing inflation, which has already put pressure on many people’s incomes. Along with lawmakers, traders, farmers, businesspeople, and others from all walks of life raised concerns about the government action on social media, saying it would cause a new wave of inflation in the nation and make it difficult for the middle and working classes to exist.
Many people had to reconsider their travel plans and change their purchasing habits as a result of the substantial increase in fuel prices. As fuel prices increased to record levels, many Pakistani commuters who are struggling with inflation are switching to cheaper options like public transportation, buses, rickshaws, and even bicycles.
It goes without saying that the public transportation and infrastructure network in Pakistan is still very underdeveloped, which has done little to ease the burden on commuters.
The Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC), the representative body of Pakistan’s downstream oil industry, took a very timely step during these trying circumstances while also developing a creative solution and persuasive message.
As a social cause for the countrymen, OCAC started a campaign to encourage the culture of carpooling and ridesharing, boost savings by splitting gasoline costs with friends and coworkers, and fight the ongoing economic hardship each family is currently experiencing.
Ridesharing and carpooling have long been promoted as ways to cut costs on gasoline, ease traffic, and advance environmental sustainability.
The appealing slogan of the OCAC campaign, “The more passengers, the more savings” (Ek Gaari Zyada Sawari, Behtreen Kifayatsha’ari), is in accordance with the campaign’s goal of raising public awareness and people’s savings.
In order to spread awareness of the idea and inform a large audience about how to save money and protect the environment through carpooling/ridesharing, the group used both traditional and digital venues.
After the advertising was successful, many people quickly adopted the travel behavior, showing that people are proactively looking into new travel possibilities. The tech-enabled mass transportation firms in Pakistan may have a tone of chances as a result of this market gap.
Due to rising gasoline prices, people in industrialized nations are also changing their commute habits and utilizing carpooling and ridesharing. The desire for time and money-saving transportation has led to impressive growth in the worldwide ridesharing business over the past several years.
Azfar Rahman, a social media influencer, supported the idea given by OCAC and claimed that gasoline had become the lifeblood of our economy in his message. However, due to the abrupt changes in the global market, petrol prices have surged drastically worldwide, including in Pakistan.
To share fuel costs and save money, OCAC offered the novel advice of carpooling and ridesharing. The more people, the greater the savings, therefore I’m confident you’ll embrace the OCAC’s suggested travel pattern, then another social media influencer Anoushay Ashraf said in a video message while sitting in her car, “I hope you will accept the OCAC idea and will also tell your friends, colleagues, and family members to adopt Carpooling and save money.
Dr. Nazir Abbas Zaidi, the general secretary of OCAC, insisted in a video message that if everyone contributed the cost of only one liter of fuel, it would gradually reduce the burden of $1 on the government resources. Carpooling and ridesharing can help people save a lot of money because the more passengers, the more money can be saved.