No real relief at the pumps next month. File picture: Thobile Mathonsi / African News Agency (ANA).

Johannesburg - As we predicted earlier in the month, South Africa’s fuel prices look set to stabilise in August, albeit on the back of some crippling increases in the past few months.

According to month-end data released by the Central Energy Fund, the petrol price will increase by around 1 cent in August, while diesel will see a decrease of around 4 cents. The data is unaudited, however, meaning the final and official price could change slightly.

Inland motorists currently pay R15.80 for a litre of 93 Unleaded and R16.02 for 95, with the latter retailing at R15.43 at the coast.

August’s price stability will come as little consolation for motorists, however, who are already paying R2.26 more for a litre of petrol and R2.35 extra for a liter of diesel, than they were four months ago.

Both the rand and international oil prices have proven particularly volatile in the past month, with oil prices ranging between R71.84 and R79.44, and the rand reaching lows of R13.74 to the US dollar at the beginning of July and highs around R13.18 later in the month. At the time of writing the rand was trading at R13.20, and crude oil at $75.05.

Given the current state of affairs, and uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s much publicised trade wars and hard-line approach on Iran, both the oil price and so-called ‘emerging market’ currencies such as the rand remain vulnerable, meaning South African consumers are unlikely to get any meaningful fuel price relief in the short term.

These factors, however, only serve to highlight the heavy tax burden that government has already placed on local fuel prices, with various levies accounting for around 38 percent of the pump price.

IOL Motoring