Here is the expected petrol price for May

 ·15 Apr 2024

Mid-month data from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) shows that motorists in South Africa can expect a mixed bag for fuel prices in May.

As was the case for April, petrol prices are currently showing an under-recovery of around 30 cents per litre, lining up for a fourth consecutive price hike next month.

Diesel, meanwhile, is showing the opposite – an over-recovery of around 28 cents per litre – pointing to a price cut.

These are the expected changes:

  • Petrol 93: increase of 30 cents per litre
  • Petrol 95: increase of 31 cents per litre
  • Diesel 0.05% (wholesale): decrease of 26 cents per litre
  • Diesel 0.005% (wholesale): decrease of 31 cents per litre
  • Illuminating paraffin: decrease of 19 cents per litre

The CEF does not present daily snapshot data for LP Gas.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has noted that its daily snapshots are not predictive and do not encompass other possible modifications, such as slate levy adjustments or retail margin changes. The department determines these adjustments, considering various factors, at the end of the month.

Domestic fuel costs are primarily governed by the rand/dollar exchange rate and international oil prices. In South Africa, the fuel price is adjusted on the first Wednesday of every month based on these two factors.

For May, oil prices are again the main culprit behind the under-recovery in petrol – while the relatively stronger rand is helping take the edge off.

Oil prices

Oil prices have been rising consistently in 2024 so far, having climbed approximately 17% since the start of the year.

Prices are being driven up primarily due to conflict in the Middle East, with the threat of the war between Israel and Hamas escalating to other oil-producing nations in the region.

Adding to these tensions is the artificial choke on supply by OPEC+ nations, which have been keeping a tight rein on supply to drain inventories and support prices.

According to Bloomberg analysis, while some in the market still anticipate prices to rise further to around $100 a barrel, the commodity has proven to be pretty resilient to the global forces at play.

The group described the environment as “fluid”, with others betting on the Middle East conflict remaining contained.

Oil prices have recovered from highs around $92 a barrel and are currently under the $90 mark. However, this is still significantly up from the $75 a barrel position at the start of the year and even the $85 mark more recently.


The rand has been more volatile in recent trading, fluctuating quite wildly from R19.25 to as low as R18.46 in recent weeks.

The local unit has started the new week closer to the R19/$ mark, trading at R18.83 to the dollar on Monday morning (15 April).

While the rand has lost some ground against the dollar in the past week, economists have pointed out that this is more because of the dollar’s strength than weakness in the rand.

The battle for the rand comes down to the global sentiment around interest rates, where central banks in the US and other major economies are holding onto the higher for longer narrative and pushing out projected cuts.

Global markets have pushed out the expected first rate cut in the United States to the fourth quarter of the year (likely September), which has had a negative impact on the rand.

Locally, expectations for interest rate cuts have also been pushed back, with some betting that cuts will be pushed into 2025, with no changes in 2024 at all.

This narrative is being fed by higher levels of inflation – exacerbated by the oil price – where central banks are struggling to bring consumer prices down to levels that would support rate cuts.

Stats SA will publish the latest CPI figures this week, with economists once again anticipating a print above 5.0%. The South African Reserve Bank wants inflation sustained at or below 4.5% before even thinking about cutting rates.

This is how the mid-month prices could reflect at the pumps (diesel prices are wholesale and will differ at retail):

InlandApril OfficialMay Expected
93 PetrolR24.78R25.08
95 PetrolR25.12R25.43
Diesel 0.05% (wholesale)R22.45R22.19
Diesel 0.005% (wholesale)R22.60R22.29
Illuminating ParaffinR16.19R16.00
CoastalApril OfficialMay Expected
93 PetrolR23.99R24.29
95 PetrolR24.33R24.64
Diesel 0.05% (wholesale)R21.66R21.40
Diesel 0.005% (wholesale)R21.84R21.53
Illuminating ParaffinR15.19R15.00

Read: How banks could help bring down petrol prices in South Africa

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