No petrol price reprieve for SA motorists ahead of festive season

Initial unaudited data from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) paints a bleak picture ahead of the festive season for petrol users while diesel is set to decrease marginally.

Those holiday plans may be a little bit more costly after unaudited data from the Central Energy Fund has indicated a mixed bag of increases and decreases to fuel prices for December.

The data suggests that petrol prices could increase between 97c per litre and R1.09 per litre while diesel could finally drop, although not by much; 34c per litre is what is expected. Illuminating paraffin is also expected to increase by around 30c litre.

Fortunately, the rand has been performing stronger against the US dollar, which oil is traded in, in comparison to recent months when South Africans have been hard hit by hefty increases. Despite this, a petrol price increase was inevitable since the average upward movement in international product prices is the main driver behind the increase while the adverse effect is the reason diesel prices are marginally lowering.

“With these expected increases to petrol, the price of a litre of 95 ULP, for instance, will climb to just under R24 per litre which will be way below the high of R26.74 per litre seen in July, but which will still be higher than September, October, and November prices. The decrease to diesel is, of course, welcome and should, at least, not immediately negatively impact other prices reliant on diesel as an input cost. Of course, the increase to illuminating paraffin remains a concern as it will affect the poor most,” says the AA.

The association says it must be noted that these are mid-month figures and are likely to change before the final adjustment for December is made later in the month.

“However, increases to petrol prices are almost certain to happen while decreases to diesel are also almost a certainty. Given that many people will be travelling by vehicle in December we advise motorists to carefully plan their budgets now to ensure they have the necessary funds to cover their expenses, which may also include toll fees on certain routes,” notes the AA.

In addition, the AA says planning for year-end trips must include ensuring vehicles are in good condition.

“A vehicle which is in a good condition will use the optimal amount of fuel and will, in the long run, be more economical than a vehicle that has not been serviced or maintained. Another critical component to check is tyres. Not only are tyres which are in poor condition a major safety risk, but they may also contribute to lower fuel economy if they are not properly aligned, or under- or over-inflated. This applies to all vehicles including trailers and caravans which are towed,” concludes the association.

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