File image: IOL.
Durban - Motorists lined up at service stations on Tuesday to fill up their fuel tanks before the latest increases, which kicked in at midnight.

And the bad news is that even more increases are predicted in the new year.

Sharp movements in international petroleum prices have combined with a weakening rand to push fuel prices higher for December, according to the AA, which was commenting on unaudited month-end fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund.

The latest increase will take the per litre price of 95 octane petrol to R14.76 inland and R14.27 at the coast.

Layton Beard, of the AA, attributed the increase to the weak rand/dollar exchange rate which he said had led to the fifth fuel increase this year.

“Oil has continued the strong run we have seen throughout November and the trend remains upwards,” Beard said.

“The rand has followed a similar trend, weakening against the US dollar on average, although it has been surprisingly resilient in the days following South Africa’s recent credit ratings downgrade,” he said.

The AA says it expects illuminating paraffin to rise by around 76 cents a litre, diesel by 64 cents, and petrol by 72 cents.

“There is always the temptation to spend more on non-essential items during the holiday period, but we advise motorists to be prudent and keep a cushion against higher motoring costs in the new year,” he said.

The latest increase is set to have a ripple effect on the economy and could mean a hike in food prices.

Single mother Tia Kirchner said the increase would further contribute to a failing economy. She said the fuel increase would also increase unemployment.

Obert Ngwane, a business owner who relies heavily on his three bakkies for business, said the latest price hike would have a bad impact on his business this festive season and beyond.

Ngwane said: “I travel a lot. The current fuel spend on my three cars is R5000 a month and I think that is already too much.”

Daily News