A motorist holds a fuel pump at a Gulf petrol station in London in this April 18, 2006 file photo. Oil dropped nearly 2 percent on March 20, 2012 as Saudi Arabia sought to knock back crude's price rise that has threatened the global economy, with the oil minister offering the most detailed argument to date that the OPEC nation was prepared to meet any supply shortfall. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY COMMODITIES)

Johannesburg - Motorists still reeling from last month’s steep 84-cents-a -litre increase in fuel must now endure another hike.

On Tuesday night, all grades of fuel will increase by 32 cents a litre, while the price of diesel will increase by 32.96 cents a litre.

The increase – the latest in a string of hikes – will push the petrol price to a record R13.55 a litre in Gauteng and R13.18 a litre in coastal areas.

The latest hike comes after the increase of 84c a litre for all grades of petrol, 78c a litre for diesel and 75c a litre for illuminating paraffin.

That came in the wake of a record hike in September last year, after which consumers had to pay an extra 93c a litre, while diesel went up by 69c a litre.

From Wednesday, the wholesale price of illuminating paraffin will increase by 25c a litre, while liquid petroleum gas will go up by 22c a litre.

Some of the reasons for the fuel price increase are the already high oil prices, the rand/dollar exchange rate and political instability in the oil-producing regions affecting the crude oil price, according to the Minerals and Energy Ministry.

The latest hike means that South Africans will in just five weeks have had to pay about R1.16 a litre more to fill their tanks.

This is a whopping R70 extra for an average tank – spelling hardship for consumers saddled with financial difficulties.

The latest increase could mean that consumers may have to brace themselves for a rise in inflation, unless the rand stops weakening.

If it doesn’t, motorists could be in for more nasty surprises in the fuel price next month. - The Star