South Africans could fill their petrol tanks with just R270 in 2009 – here’s how bad things could get next week

 ·25 Sep 2018

While many South Africans are familiar with stories of how little you could buy for just R1 in the 1980s and 1990s, it wasn’t too long ago that South Africans were paying just R270 to fill their petrol tank (45 litres).

A new report by Stats SA shows how petrol prices have changed over time, with the price of inland 95-octane petrol falling to a 10-year low of R6.01 in January 2009 on the back of tumbling global oil prices.

It would take 34 months for the petrol price to break through the previous July 2008 high – reaching R10.77 in November 2011 – with South Africans then forking out R485 to fill a 45-litre tank.

While the price has continued to climb over the last five years, it’s the rise in 2018 that has been particularly painful.

Annual fuel inflation (which incorporates prices for all forms of fuel) was 25.3% in July 2018, according to Stats SA’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) release.

“In other words, motorists paid, on average, 25.3% more for fuel in July 2018 than they did in July 2017. This was the highest annual fuel inflation rate since December 2011,” Stats SA said.

“The most recent CPI puts the August 2018 rate at a slightly lower 23.6%.2 In September 2018, the price of inland 95-octane petrol inched higher to an all-time high of R16.08 per litre. The usual culprits of rising international oil prices and a softening rand are largely to blame.”

Effectively this means you can buy just 17 litres of inland 95-octane petrol for R270 today, and a full 45-litre tank would now set you back R724.

Further pain

Stats SA further warned that the pain is set to continue in October, and could last through to the end of 2018.

Following government’s unprecedented capping of fuel price rises in September, energy minister Jeff Radebe warned that prices would most likely continue to climb.

Stats SA added that the petrol price could break the R17 mark in October (an increase of at least 92 cents) however, the total damage caused by oil touching $100 a barrel and a weaker rand will only be officially tallied later this week.

Read: Government’s petrol price intervention could mean even higher prices in October and beyond: Dawie Roodt

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