March petrol price hike will be bigger than anticipated

Johannesburg – Following some much needed relief towards the end of 2018, South Africa’s fuel prices are back on an upward trajectory and motorists should brace for a spate of increases in the coming months.

The pain starts in March, with late month data from the Department of Energy pointing towards a bigger fuel price increase than originally anticipated.

While mid-month data had predicted an increase of 43 cents a litre for petrol, the average under-recovery for the month so far is pointing towards an increase of 67 cents and if current trends persist between now and Thursday, the price hike could be as high as 83 cents a litre.

A litre of 95 Unleaded currently costs R13.49 at the coast and R14.08 inland, where 93 Unleaded retails at R13.86.

Those driving diesel vehicles face an even bigger increase of between 84 cents and 96 cents, depending on how the rand and oil prices fare for the remainder of the week.

More hikes coming in April

While a weaker rand and stronger oil prices are responsible for the projected March price increases, additional government taxes announced during the Budget Speech this month are on the way.

An increase in the general fuel levy and Road Accident Fund contribution will add 20 cents a litre to the price of fuel from the beginning of April, and that’s over and above any additional increase that may result from strong oil prices.

Then in June motorists can expect a further ‘carbon tax’ to come into effect, adding 9 cents to the price of a litre of petrol and 10 cents in the case of diesel.

There doesn’t appear to be any environmental benefit to this new tax, as Outa executive head Heinrich Volmink pointed out last week:

“Introducing a carbon fuel levy without a clear indication that this will be ring-fenced for climate change mitigation initiatives, and with no clear link to behavioural change, appears to be disingenuous,” Volmink said.