File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng / Independent Media.

Johannesburg – Following December's slight reprieve, motorists should brace for higher fuel prices from Wednesday.

According to the Department of Energy, the price of petrol will increase by between 48 cents a litre (95 Octane) and 50 cents a litre (93 Unleaded). The cost of diesel will rise by 39 cents in the case of 0.05ppm and 37 cents for 0.005ppm. 

This means motorists will now fork out R12.37 for a litre of 95 Unleaded at the coast and R13.33 in Gauteng, with a litre of diesel costing R11.03 and R11.41 respectively.

The DOE said the price adjustments were mainly due to rising international oil prices during the month of November. A key factor here was Opec members agreeing to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day from the beginning of January while Russia and other non-Opec producers also agreed to reduce output by 600 000 barrels a day.

Though the rand strengthened slightly during the period under review, from R13.91 to R13.87 on average, this was not nearly enough to compensate for the higher oil prices.

The Automobile Association warned that more fuel price increases could be on the way:

“If the oil-producing countries adhere to the proposed production cuts, oil prices are likely to strengthen until demand and production move back into equilibrium.

“Even a stronger rand could be overpowered by a sharp climb in the oil price, potentially meaning a succession of fuel price hikes that could impact the economy strongly over the next few months,” the association said.