R3 per litre petrol pain for South Africa

 ·20 May 2024

As of May 2024, South African motorists are paying R3 per litre more to fill up their cars compared to the start of the year—meaning some drivers have to pay up to R240 more per tank at the pumps.

In January 2024, the price of petrol 95 and 0.005% diesel was set at R22.49 and R20.73 per litre, respectively.

Fast-forward five months, and in May 2024, these prices increased by over 13% and 7%, respectively. While diesel saw some relief in the last two months, petrol saw four consecutive increases totalling R3.00.

Bloomberg analysis shows that although oil prices have been relatively stable, they have gradually increased since the start of the year.

This can be attributed to the production cuts by oil-producing countries (OPEC+), the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, and disruptions in shipping in the Red Sea.

Currently, the volatile oil markets are significantly impacting petrol prices in South Africa. In May, due to the instability in the oil market, the under-recovery rate is being affected by 37 cents per litre.

As a result, South Africans are now firing out R25.49 and R22.24 per litre at the pumps.

However, early signs point to some relief next month. The rand has enjoyed some relative strength in May, as tensions around the coming 2024 elections have eased and markets anticipate a more business-friendly result.

According to Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop, the rand is likely to remain volatile but would strengthen on an earlier US rate cut and around 45% ANC voter support, with no ANC/EFF coalitions.

Additionally, with OPEC+ nations curtailing output to prevent a glut and shore up global prices, oil prices are still relatively stable and a far stretch from the $90+ a barrel seen earlier in the year.

As a result, mid-month data from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) pointed to price cuts across the board.

Despite this, South Africans are still paying notably more for fuel compared to the beginning of the year in January.

The table below shows the pump prices in January compared to May 2024.

InlandJanuary officialMay officialChange
95 PetrolR22.49R25.49+R3.00
Diesel 0.005% (wholesale)R20.73R22.24+R1.51

The tables below show the cost of filling up your car’s tank with petrol and diesel inland in May compared to January 2024.


Tank size95 unleadedExtra per tank
37 litresR943.13 +R111
45 litresR1 147.05+R135
60 litresR1 529.40+R180
80 litresR2 039.20+R240


Tank sizeDiesel 0.005%Extra per tank
37 litresR822.88+R55.87
45 litresR1 000.80+R67.95
60 litresR1 334.40+R90.60
80 litresR1 779.20+R120.80

While it is impossible to accurately track exactly how much petrol you will consume due to traffic and road quality, it is possible to get a rough estimate of how these petrol prices will impact your current petrol allowance based on manufacturer estimates.

The table below shows how much it could cost you to travel 100km in May compared to January in some of the country’s best-selling cars.

TypeCarCons. per 100kmCost per 100kmExtra per 100km
CrossoverToyota Corolla Cross6.8LR173.33 +R20.40
SUVToyota Fortuner7.2L*R160.13+R10.87
BakkieToyota Hilux7.1L*R157.90+R10.71
HatchbackVW Polo Vivo5.9LR150.39+R17.70
SedanVW Polo Sedan6.5LR165.69+R19.50
*Diesel engines

Read: How far above the speed limit you can drive before getting fined in South Africa

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