File picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA).

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s fuel price prognosis for December is a mixed bag for motorists, with petrol prices set to increase slightly, and diesel set to go down.

Commenting on unaudited month-end data from the Central Energy Fund, the Automobile Association said that the rand and oil price interplay from the previous month was pointing to a petrol price hike of around 11 cents a litre and a diesel price decrease of 23 c/l. However, the association added that the Regulatory Accounting System (RAS) Industry margin is also set to be adjusted upwards at the beginning of December and if they follow the same pattern of last year’s hikes (of 7.7 cents for petrol and 4.59c for diesel) then South Africans will be looking at a petrol price increase of 19 cents and a diesel price reduction of 18 c/l.

Rand strong, but oil prices diverge

“Divergence in the international prices of refined fuels have caused an unusual fuel price picture for December,” the AA said.

"The Rand / US dollar exchange rate has remained fairly flat throughout November, contributing around a six-cent drop per litre. However, the prices of refined petrol and diesel, which usually track each-other's movements, but with a fair gap between their prices, have showed an altogether different picture recently.

"We're currently in another period of divergence,” the association added.

“The variance between refined petrol and diesel prices is generally attributable to changes in refining capacity and demand, especially as the Northern Hemisphere heads into its winter and demand for heating fuels increases".

IOL Motoring