While the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on jobs and economic activity, there is one by-product that Australian households should be very pleased with.
Oil and petrol prices have crashed this year, first due to a disagreement between oil-producing nations then because of a lack of demand arising from the entire developed world going into lockdown.
Prices dropped so much that a few weeks ago some traders were selling future barrels for a negative cost – that is, they were paying people to take it off them because there was nowhere to store them.
This means that Sydney motorists have been seeing petrol prices as low as 85 or 95 cents per litre. This is compared to the December peak of 166.2 cents per litre.
All the capital cities have experienced similar price drops in the past two months.
The reduction in peak petrol price from 166.2 cents to 114 cents per litre this week means fuel costs have dropped more than 30 per cent.
The average Australian household, according to the Australian Automobile Association, spent $76.23 per week in fuel in the December quarter.
That equates to a yearly saving of more than $1,244 now that petrol prices have sunk.
Car usage to explode
While far fewer cars have been on the road during this pandemic period, it's predicted traffic will soon return to, or even exceed, pre-virus levels.
This is because of social distancing concerns on public transport.
For example, while public transport is running in NSW, its transport minister Andrew Constance this week warned citizens to stay away.
"I just want to save lives," he said.
"I don’t want to see a mass transit system in Australia – in Sydney, a global city – drive the infection rate and people die."
To prepare for the surge in private vehicle commuter traffic, Wilson Parking is offering $15 all day parking for its 10,000 spaces in downtown Sydney. The government is reportedly currently in discussion with other car park operators to arrange similar deals.
There is also a temporary commuter car park operating in Moore Park, just south of the central business district.