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South Africa is still one of the most expensive places in the world to keep your petrol tank full

South African motorists are in for a tough December, as mid-month fuel price estimates show that the price of filling your tank could be going up by as much as 75 cents next month.

The latest Bloomberg fuel index – updated 31 October 2017 – shows that South Africa still remains one of the most expensive countries in the world to keep tanks full.

Bloomberg’s data ranks 61 countries by three economic measures to see which has the most affordable fuel and which countries feel the most pain at the pump.

While South Africa ranks as having relatively cheap fuel on a cost-per-litre basis (the 18th cheapest, in fact), our penchant for travelling long distances, coupled with low average salaries and a high cost of living, means that we spend a much higher portion of our annual income on keeping tanks full than almost anywhere else.

In fact, the only country where it’s more expensive to fill up throughout the year, is Mexico, Bloomberg’s data shows.

The country’s fuel price has been on the rise for the past four months, getting hammered by a weakening rand versus the dollar, while contending with a rising global oil price.

Since July, when the price of a litre of 95 grade petrol was at R12.86, the petrol price has already climbed by R1.19 in the months that followed to hit R14.05 in November. By December, at current projections, this increase could be at R1.95.

Most expensive petrol

On a per-litre basis, South Africa has the 18th cheapest petrol in the world – up from the 20th cheapest earlier in the year. Bloomberg lists South Africa’s petrol price at R13.48 per litre, compared to the most expensive country, Norway, at R27.01. The cheapest fuel in the world is still found in Venezuela, where a litre costs R0.01.

# Country Price per Litre
1 Norway R27.01
2 Hong Kong R26.43
3 Netherlands R24.66
4 Denmark R24.54
5 Italy R24.08
5 Greece R24.04
7 Israel R23.45
8 Portugal R23.04
9 Finland R22.95
10 Sweden R22.80
     
44 South Africa R13.48

Petrol prices as a % of daily wage

This category refers to the portion of daily wages that would be needed to buy a litre of petrol.

South Africa’s position in the rankings has worsened by one place from earlier this year. With an average daily income of R223.55, it takes 6.03% of a day’s wages to afford a liter of gas.

The worst country by this metric is India, where 21.28% of the daily wage goes to fuel – while Venezuela is again ranked as the best, where 0.03% is used.

# Country % of average daily wage
1 India 21.28%
2 Pakistan 16.16%
3 Philippines 11.49%
4 Nigeria 8.49%
5 Egypt 6.40%
6 South Africa 6.03%
7 Indonesia 6.02%
8 Thailand 5.77%
8 Bulgaria 5.32%
10 Turkey 5.15%

Petrol prices as a % of annual income

This refers to the portion of annual income spent on fuel purchases.

South Africa’s position as the second-worst in the world by this metric stays the same, with 3.23% of the average annual salary going to fuel.

According to Bloomberg, the average South African motorist uses 195.29 litres of petrol a year.

# Country % of average annual income
1 Mexico 3.55%
2 South Africa 3.23%
3 Greece 2.82%
4 Malaysia 2.75%
5 Brazil 2.70%
6 Canada 2.69%
7 New Zealand 2.47%
8 Cyprus 2.21%
9 Iran 2.16%
10 Russia 2.10%