File picture: Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters.

Johannesburg - After enjoying some welcome fuel price relief in August and September, motorists should start preparing for a possible fuel price increase in October.

Although it's too early in the month to accurately predict the price adjustment, the accumulated under-recovery recorded between 1 and 12 September points to a 'so far' increase of 49.6 cents a litre for petrol and 20.8 c/l for diesel. Unless the local currency and international oil prices suddenly swing in our favour, a price hike is looking inevitable.

Much can still happen between now and the end of September, but the most recent daily under-recoveries (72.6 c/l on Friday and 83.6 c/l on Monday) are a worrying sign that the price hike could be a lot worse than the current accumulated under-recovery of 50 cents.

Figures supplied by the Department of Energy show a situation of under-recovery since 18 August, but motorists still benefited from an 18 cent petrol price decrease and 48 cent diesel price drop at the beginning of this month. This was due to a strong rand and weak oil prices at the beginning of August and had those numbers stabilised at that level, motorists would have saved around 70 cents a litre on petrol this month.

Things quickly turned, however, as fears surrounding the possible arrest of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan sent the local currency into a tailspin, and speculation that Opec member states might lower production boosted oil prices.

95 octane Unleaded currently retails at R11.69 per litre at the coast and R12.17 on the Reef while diesel costs R10.10 - R10.49.

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