Fuel prices – It’s no secret that a fairly large chunk of the money you spend on fuel at the pumps goes to various levies and taxes, but few realise exactly how much the government takes every time you fill that tank.

Thankfully the Automobile Association has, for the third year now, given us an exact breakdown of how South Africa’s fuel prices are determined, taking into account the latest 52 cent increase in fuel levies that took effect from April 1.

As you’ll see in the infographics below, these levies make up almost 40 percent of the price of fuel at the pumps – amounting to R5.30 per litre of fuel.

And that really adds up quickly! Of the R694.50 that it costs you to fill a 50 litre tank at the coast, R264 goes to these fuel levies (R168.50 to the General Fuel Levy and R96.50 to the Road Accident Fund). A further R139 goes to those parties that store, transport and sell you the petrol.

But here’s the kicker. The actual fuel that you’ve just spent almost seven hundred hard earned rands on, actually costs just R290.50 when it arrives in a ship at the harbour.

Below is the full break-down for coastal petrol (93 Unleaded):

SA fuel prices

And inland (95 Unleaded):

Fuel prices

According to the AA, the General Fuel Levy is treated as a general tax and not, as many would quite rightfully assume, a fund for building and fixing roads. The General Fuel Levy currently stands at R3.37 a litre, having increased by 22 cents a litre this year.

The Road Accident Fund Levy currently accounts for a separate R1.93 a litre, having increased by 30 c/l at the beginning of April.

These levies generally increase every April, but as you well know, South Africa’s fuel prices are also adjusted on a monthly basis and these sums are determined by the average rand / dollar exchange rate and international oil prices for the preceding month.

On that note, early April data from the Department of Energy is pointing towards a petrol price increase of around 34 cents a litre for May, although much can still happen between now and the end of this month.