To motorists it might seem like too little too late, following the hefty increases that have taken place this year, but there is going to be some minor relief at the pumps just ahead of the December holiday period.

The Department of Energy has announced that the price of all grades of petrol will be reduced by nine cents a litre from Wednesday, 7 December, while diesel prices will drop by between five and six cents.

Gauteng motorists will now pay R12.01 for a litre of 95-octane petrol and R11.79 for 93, while 50ppm low-sulphur diesel will retail for R11.44 and 500ppm sludge will cost R11.39.

Coastal motorists, meanwhile, are looking at R11.66 for 95 petrol and R11.13 for low-sulphur diesel.

While any relief is welcome, prices are still very high by historical standards - just consider that a litre of 95 cost just R8.32 in Gauteng in late 2010.

The weaker rand and strong international crude oil prices are doing us no favours.