Much to the dismay of South Africans, the Department of Energy has announced that the price of petrol and diesel is to increase by 52 cents/litre and 76 cents/litre, respectively, as of 1 June.
South Africa’s fuel prices are adjusted on a monthly basis. There are many reasons behind the price hikes of fuel that motorists pay and they include the fact that South Africa imports both crude oil and finished products at a price set at the international level, including shipping costs, explained the Department of Energy (DoE).
“The main reasons for the fuel price adjustments in June 2016 are the average increase in the prices of petroleum products in the international markets (about 30.00c/l for petrol and 56.00 c/l for diesel respectively), and the weakening of the Rand against the US Dollar during the period under review which contributed to the price adjustments by over 20.00c/l,” stated the DoE.
The price difference between petrol and diesel can further be accredited to the supply and demand patterns internationally.
“Higher diesel prices in this month's short term economic outlook reflect higher forecast for crude oil prices and the fact that refineries are focused on producing more petrol for the summer season in Europe. Analysts expect the diesel market to be tight in the next few months,” remarked the DoE.
With the mounting financial pressure from other increases that have come into effect recently as well, motorists and the general public are urged to use these petroleum products efficiently during these tough economic times, added the DoE.
Surviving the increase
Public relations manager of The Automobile Association (AA), Layton Beard, outlined eight tipsto consume fuel economically:
1. It’s very important to know exactly where you are going. “If you have a route planned out then that would make quite a big difference. Because then you an idea of where exactly you’re going and how much petrol you’re going to need for that route. Obviously this is even more important when you’re planning on going on a long journey,” noted Beard.
2. Know your cars limitations and capacity in terms of fuel range and make sure the route you’re taking has enough fuel stations along the way for you to fill up.
3. Stop start driving is really going to play quite a big role in your fuel consumption. “So if you are driving in peak hour traffic in the morning and peak hour traffic going home, and you’re stuck in a jam every day. That is going to play a big role in your consumption. So where possible maybe leave earlier or later, but find out if there’s a way that you can minimise the time that you spend in traffic,” advised Beard.
4. Use your air conditioner sparingly, as it has a bearing on your petrol consumption, in both summer and winter.
5. “Take care not to drive with all your windows open as it increases the drag on the car, and will see you using more petrol,” noted Beard.
6. Make sure your car is in a good condition, if it isn’t is could see you using more fuel to keep it running.
7. Make sure your tyres are in a good working condition, as this impacts on your fuel usage. “Are they the correct thread, are they balanced properly, is my car driving as it should?” are some of the necessary questions you should ask yourself before embarking on any journey,” Beard said.
8. Don’t drive with a heavy load. “For example lifting four or five people, or driving long distances with lots of luggage and/or towing either a car or a trailer,” stated Beard.
The AA further said that it was concerned by the steady rise in oil prices in the current weak Rand environment, notwithstanding international opinion that global over-supply could see prices pull back.
“It is going to hit consumers hard. Since March we have seen almost a R1, 50 increase collectively in the price of petrol. So it will impact on drivers, and they will definitely feel the brunt,” said Beard.
But this is not the end of it. The AA predict that motorists will see further hikes this year: "With South Africa's weak economy, our concern is that even if oil prices moderate, further declines in the Rand will mask the benefit. It is possible that fuel prices will test new highs in the coming months, placing yet more stress on consumers.”
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