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YOLANDE DU PREEZ
THE HIGHEST petrol increase in the country’s history will cause consumers to suffer massive financial constraints in the months to come, economists have said.
The 93c/litre hike as of midnight last night will result in consumers paying R11.97/l in Gauteng and R11.62/l at the coast.
Economists say this means that consumers will have to dig even deeper into their pockets following a steep increase in food and electricity prices this year.
However, that is not the end of fuel price hikes explained Dawie Roodt, Efficient Group chief economist. Roodt said although this increase was a steep one, consumers could expect to see another petrol price increase of approximately 20c/l next month.
He explained that the hike was mainly due to the increase in oil prices internationally, as well as the weakened rand. He said the Marikana debacle could have had an indirect hand in the weakening of the rand.
Roodt said consumers would be faced with a tough couple of months.
Sello Molete, from Centurion, said he could not believe the petrol price was going up again.
“The thing that scares me the most is that you can do absolutely nothing about it. If you want to go from point A to B, you need petrol, so it means you will just have to pay up,” he said.
Wynand Coetzee, also from Centurion, said his wife was expecting their second child and he was currently the only breadwinner. “This increase will definitely affect me and my family. We have already started to think twice when we want to take a weekend break and now it will be even worse.
“We are still lucky… There are families out there who can’t even afford food. How will they now get to work and back with everything just going up and up?” he asked.
Consumer Union’s Cliff Johnston said there was no real relief in sight for the consumer. “Apart from the direct implication the fuel increase will have on the consumer, they will also have to face the indirect implication of everything from food to clothing and transport, going up.
“Even if the fuel price should drop in the future, food and clothing prices will not,” he said.
Johnston said another big concern was the drought in the US which would have direct implications on consumers internationally.
“The price of wheat will increase, meaning bread will cost more which will have a direct implication on many South Africans, literally robbing them of their bread and butter,” he said.
How to save fuel: Tips from the AA include:
l Keep engine revs as low as possible. Don’t over-accelerate when pulling off.
l Keep your vehicle moving as much as possible as accelerating from a stopping position uses more petrol.
l Make sure your vehicle is maintained well and keep a close eye on wheel alignment etc.
l Make sure your tyres are properly inflated. Flat or slightly flat tyres means more petrol usage.
l Cut down on weight load.