Do South Africans overpay for petrol?

South African motorists are feeling the pinch as fuel prices bite a sizeable chunk out of their daily pay – but South Africa is not as hard hit as many other countries in the world.

This is according to new data by financial services company, Direct Axis, as well as comparative data from

On 5 July 2013, petrol prices went up by a as much as 84 cents a litre, knocking the cost to fill up to a record R13.23 a litre(coastal: R12.86).

The increase was caused by the weakening of Rand against the Dollar in June, which contributed a 58 cent and 59 cent increase to petrol and diesel, respectively.

“A comparison of petrol prices in relation to daily wages finds that a litre of unleaded costs the average South African wage earner a striking 6.5% of their daily earnings,” Direct Axis said.

With all fees taken into account, for every litre of pterol, R3.69 goes towards tax. This means that if you fill a 60 litre tank with petrol, R221.47 goes towards government taxes, Direct Axis said.

However, while R13.23 is a steep premium to pay for petrol, it’s a far stretch from what countries in Europe and Zambia have to pay – where prices extend beyond R20 a litre.

Petrol per litre as percentage of average wage
Petrol per litre as percentage of average wage (Direct Axis)

Petrol prices across the world

According to international data collection and analysis website, Turkey has the most expensive petrol in the world, selling for R26.67 a litre.

Eurozone countries, such as the UK (R20.10), Sweden (R21.00), Greece (R21.52) and Norway (R26.54) also suffer from high-cost petrol.

After the recent fuel jump, South Africa moved from the pricing league of countries such as Canada (R12.24) and Kenya (R12.37), to prices in line with Nigeria (R13.01) and Sri-Lanka (R13.27).

Oman (R3.74), Qatar (R2.32) and Saudi Arabia (R1.93) still offer some of the cheapest fuel in the world, while Venezuela is the cheapest at a mere 11 cents.

“Fuel prices differ considerably across countries. The prices of fuel in some of the petrol producing states are less than a few dollar/euro cents for the liter,” MyTravelCost said.

“In contrast, in some European countries, a litre of gas costs more than 2 dollars. Prices also change over time. However, price movements are similar across countries. They either increase or decrease everywhere.”

The site’s data is drawn from a variety of sources, including official government materials, oil companies, online resources specializing in gas prices, and others, it said.

“These sources provide reliable information about fuel prices in a large number of countries. For the other countries, we provide an estimate using previously published data.”

The following graph represents fuel prices across the world as of June 2013 (not taking into account the recent fuel price increase in South Africa).

Petrol prices across the world
Petrol prices across the world (click to enlarge)

(Prices converted by MyTravelCosts at USD1 = ZAR9.92)

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Do South Africans overpay for petrol?