Motorists brace yourselves. Significant petrol and diesel price increases are looking likely for September.
This prediction is based on early month data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF), pertaining to the first 10 days of August.
The latest daily snapshot from the CEF shows that the price of 95 Unleaded petrol could go up by around R1.26 per litre at the beginning of next month, while diesel is looking set for an increase in the region of R2.50.
However, with the current daily numbers being in the red to the tune of around R2 per litre for petrol and R3 for diesel, the month-average could increase well beyond the aforementioned predictions.
Should current trends persist, realistically we’d be looking at increases in excess of R1.50 per litre for petrol, which would push the price of a litre of 95 Unleaded petrol up to around R23.60 at the coast and R24.33 in the inland regions, where the cheaper 93 ULP would rise to around R23.93.
Keep in mind that these figures are hypothetical, and much could change between now and the end of this month, when the official petrol and diesel prices will be announced by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
For the record, petrol increased by 37 cents at the beginning of this month, and diesel by between 71 and 72 cents - click here for the current official prices.
Perfect storm pushing prices up
The predicted fuel price increases are being driven by the perfect storm of a weaker rand and stubbornly high international oil prices.
There is a little hope on the latter front, with Brent Crude Oil prices having softened slightly to $86.25 per barrel on Friday morning, on mixed economic news from China, Reuters reported.
However this is still higher than the $85 mark where oil was trading late last month.
The South African rand, meanwhile, has weakened in the past week for reasons that economists have not yet been able to pinpoint. On Friday, August 11, it was trading at R18.87 to the US dollar, which is significantly higher than its average of R18.28 in July. The currency would need to dip below the latter level, as an average for August, for it to make a positive contribution to the September fuel price.
With general inflation having softened in recent months, the prospect of higher fuel prices is not a good sign for consumer prices going forward.