In South Africa, fuel prices have been consistently above R20 per litre for more than a year, but some companies are striving to provide cost-effective options that can save motorists up to R700 per tank of 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 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.
“While we understand that we are a cash-strapped nation, we can no longer afford to burden society with higher taxes and levies applied to the price of fuel,” said Wayne Duvenage, Outa’s chief executive.
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% – resulting in the collective cost of levies and surcharges of more than R10 per litre of petrol before the basic fuel price is added.
Considering the elevated prices of fuel and the fact that they are unlikely to come down in the near future, a company called Isinkwe Energies, based in KwaZulu-Natal, offers a cheaper alternative.
In June 2023, Isinkwe Energies 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.
Isinkwe Energies managing director Kyle Hartley told MyBroadband that the kit could transform a car into a bi-fuel vehicle which can run on both petrol and gas.
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.
However, Hartley added that to make it more affordable, the company is offering limited finance or lease-to-own options to approved motorists – allowing them to effectively pay for the systems with the money that they would’ve saved on fuel every month within four to five months.
How much you could be saving at the pumps
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.
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.
Considering the potential LPG fuel, BusinessTech looked at what the potential savings could look like in number terms when filling up a tank at the current price of petrol 95 (R21.74) compared to the LPG station price of R13.
Hartley noted that the company currently offers kits for a broad range of vehicle brands – including the most popular brands listed by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa.
This includes Toyota, VW, Suzuki, Ford, Isuzu, and Hyundai, as well as luxury brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and even Porshe.
However, to get a general idea of the cost savings, we looked at vehicle body types and how much it would cost to fill up the average tank size associated with them.
The savings are detailed in the table below.
- Avg. tank size: 79 litres
- Cost of petrol 95 (July): R1,733
- Cost of LPG: R1,027
- Difference: R706
- Avg. tank size: 65 litres
- Cost of petrol 95 (July): R1,413
- Cost of LPG: R845
- Difference: R568
Multi-purpose Vehicle (MPV)
- Avg. tank size: 56 litres
- Cost of petrol 95 (July): R1,217
- Cost of LPG: R728
- Difference: R489
- Avg. tank size: 52 litres
- Cost of petrol 95 (July): R1,130
- Cost of LPG: R676
- Difference: R454
- Avg. tank size: 47 litres
- Cost of petrol 95 (July): R1,022
- Cost of LPG: R611
- Difference: R411
- Avg. tank size: 39 litres
- Cost of petrol 95 (July): R848
- Cost of LPG: R507
- Difference: R341