Johannesburg - South African motorists, already reeling from a 72 cent petrol price increase in April, have been warned to brace for yet another increase at the beginning of May.
According to the Automobile Association, mid-month fuel price data is currently pointing towards a petrol price increase of around 41 cents a litre, while diesel prices are likely to rise by around 48 cents and illuminating paraffin by 38c.
This would push the price of a litre of 95 Unleaded to around R14.30 at the coast and R14.89 in Gauteng, where 93 Unleaded will rise to about R14.64.
The AA says that this state of affairs is mostly due to a recent spike in the international price of crude oil, although exchange rate weakness also accounts for around four cents of the rise.
"Petroleum prices were largely flat in the first week of April, but spiked sharply as tensions escalated in Syria," the AA said.
"The Middle East lies near many of the world's key oil producers, and petroleum prices have historically been sensitive to instability in the region."
The association further warned what prolonged instability in the Middle East could drive international oil prices even higher:
"Several foreign powers have now taken a position in the Syrian civil war. If tensions escalate, or the war itself drags out even further, the outlook for oil prices would become more negative. South Africans should be aware that their fuel budgets might come under renewed strain in the short to medium term."