The R13 per litre alternative to South Africa’s high petrol prices

 ·11 Jul 2023

South African motorists have been forking out over R20 per litre for fuel for well over a year now, but there are cheaper alternatives gaining momentum in South Africa, such as LPG fuel.

Since January 2021, on average, petrol (93 and 95) has increased by 54% from R14.56/l to R22.46/l in July 2023, while diesel has risen by around 54.6% from R12.81/l to R19.81/l over the same period.

Compounding the stubbornly high fuel prices is the fact that the levies imposed on the fuel price have also increased annually – further burdening South African motorists while the government rakes in more revenue.

Since 2021, the GFL and RAF have increased by around 5% from 377c.00/l to 396.00c/l and 207.00c/l to 218.00c/l, respectively.

However, when expanding the period over a decade, the civil action group Outa noted that the basket of levies and charges by the government has collectively increased by over 125%.

Cheaper alternatives

Considering the high costs of traditional fuels in South Africa, some companies are pushing for the introduction of cheaper fuel alternatives for South African motorists.

An example of this is Isinkwe Energies, based in KwaZulu-Natal, which partnered with Ergon Equipment and Prins Autogas to establish the first-of-its-kind liquified petroleum gas (LPG) fuel station in South Africa.

At around R13 per litre at the Isinkwe site, LPG is roughly 40% cheaper than the current price of R21.74 per litre for Petrol 95 in coastal areas, said Hartley in an interview with MyBroadband.

This means motorists could save almost half on their fuel expenses by switching to a Prins Autogas kit, which costs anywhere north of R25,000 excluding VAT.

According to the company and MyBroadband, the Kit costs are model-dependent, and installation costs are approximately R2,950, excluding VAT.

Isinkwe Energies managing director Kyle Hartley noted that the kit can transform a car into a bi-fuel vehicle which can run on both petrol and gas, and LPG systems are notably eco-friendly and cost-effective compared to cars that run solely on petrol.

“If the vehicle runs out of gas it automatically turns back to petrol whilst driving,” said Hartley.

He also noted that there is no power loss when converting to LPG, and it’s an ideal alternative for petrol cars that are already on the road.

The company currently offers kits for a broad range of vehicle brands, including:

  • Volkswagen
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Citroen
  • Dodge
  • Fiat
  • Ford
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Isuzu
  • Kia
  • Land Rover
  • Lexus
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Nissan
  • Opel
  • Porsche
  • Renault
  • Subaru
  • Suzuki
  • Toyota
  • Volvo

Although LPG is not as widely available in South Africa yet, it remains an attractive alternative for motorists seeking to cut down their expenses on traditional fuel due to its significantly lower cost.

Prins Autogas also offers compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) systems, and Hartley noted that the company is currently investing heavily in the research and development of hydrogen-based systems.

Isinkwe Energies have yet to confirm any plans to build other stations around the country, but there are agents appointed in Gauteng and the Western Cape, said the company.

Read: New rules and limits proposed for petrol and diesel vehicles in South Africa

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