Would you believe there was a time in South Africa when you could fill up your petrol tank for just R270? This may sound like another lifetime, for most it is, in reality it was just 9 years ago.
In 2009, the price of inland 95-octane petrol fell to a low R6.01 because of tumbling global oil prices after it had reached a high of R10.70 in July 2008, according to Stats SA.
Sadly, motorists have not seen R6 per litre prices since then, and will probably never see it again. In 2009, R270 would get you 45 litres of petrol. Today, you can buy just 17 litres of inland 95-octane petrol with that amount. A full 45-litre tank will now set you back R724.
In November 2011, petrol rose to R10.77 and South Africans were then paying R485 to fill a 45-litre tank.
The price of petrol has continued on an upward trend, and in 2018, locals are paying more than ever before for liquid gold. The annual fuel inflation, incorporating all forms of fuel, was at 25.3% in July 2018. Essentially, this means motorists paid an average of 25.3% more for fuel in July 2018 then they did in July 2017. This marks the highest annual fuel inflation since December 2011.
The most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by Stats SA puts the August 2018 rate at a slightly lower 23.6%. In September 2018, the price of inland 95-octane petrol reached an all-time high of R16.08 per litre. The cause of rising international oil prices are due to the drop in rand value.
The rising fuel prices have an impact on all of us, but in slightly different ways. In the Western Cape and Gauteng people tend to spend more on private transport than on public transport, according to the consumer inflation weights published in 2016. Private transport includes spending on fuel and other running costs such as maintenance, licence and registration fees, and toll fees.
In the Free State, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo locals tend to spend more of their travel budget on public transport (7,0%, 6,9%, 5,7% and 5,6%, respectively). Locals in those areas are more likely to experience the financial strain in the form of rising transport fares.
Indirectly, all consumers will be affected as the other goods and services increase in price to deflect the rise in production costs.
Energy Minister, Jeff Radebe, recently warned that prices would most likely continue to climb. With our wallets feeling the strain, all we can do is wait for the rand to recover.