DURBAN - THE Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has announced that fuel prices will decrease across the board today.
The department announced the following decreases:
- 93 unleaded petrol (ULP) and leadreplacement petrol (LRP) petrol, the price will decrease by 71 cents per litre.
- 95 ULP and LRP petrol, the price goes down by 68 cents per litre.
- Diesel (0.05% sulphur), the price will decrease by 67.80 cents per litre.
- Diesel (0.005% sulphur), the price goes down by 69.80 cents per litre.
- the price of illuminating paraffin will drop by 71 cents per litre.
The fuel price decreases have been welcomed by the Automobile Association and the Road Freight Association, while the South African National Taxi Council and civil society organsation People Against Petroleum Price Increases (PAPPI) called for further decreases.
Layton Beard, spokesperson for the Automobile Association of South Africa, said that a stronger rand and favourable international net oil prices had aided a reduction in the fuel price.
“The rand has strengthened against the US dollar, pulling away from the lows of mid-December when worries mounted over the economic impact of travel bans imposed as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 swept the world. The rand has since clawed its way back to around the R15.88 mark, some 40 cents stronger than its mid-December low.
“Benchmark international oil prices were mostly flat through the first three weeks of December, although they climbed back above $70 a barrel on concerns over the impact of the Omicron variant.”
Beard added that with the Omicron variant resulting in considerable infection rates in the northern hemisphere, the possibility of lower consumer and industrial demand for petroleum products may follow.
“This could lead to a depressed oil price in the short to medium term. If so, that would bring some relief to South African fuel users.
“However, this should not distract from the fact that the current fuel prices are still far in excess of what South Africans were paying just a few months ago.”
Beard said that the AA has been calling for a review on the high fuel price structure and an audit of existing prices in that structure.
Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association, said the fuel price increased sharply three times towards the latter half of 2021 and this had an impact on transport prices – which drove them up (increased costs).
“Any decrease in fuel prices will have a knock-on effect of easing pressure on operational costs which will also translate to the prices consumers will pay. It must be understood that there will not be an immediate reduction of prices at retail stores as those goods that were transported at higher fuel prices would still have to filter through the various depots and retail points.”
South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) regional chairperson Mathula Mkhize said that the association could not applaud the decrease as there had been hefty increases in the price of petrol in the latter part of last year.
“The taxi industry has been struggling since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and we have noticed a pattern of steady increases in the petrol price and a once-off decrease is far from what the industry needs.”
Visvin Reddy, national convenor of PAPPI, said that South Africa’s fuel prices remained one of the highest in Africa and the latest drop in fuel prices would have no significant impact.