South Africa Braces for Fuel Price Surge in February
The Department of Energy has confirmed the looming fuel price increases for February, much to the dismay of consumers nationwide. Starting Wednesday, February 7, petrol prices will significantly rise to 75 cents per litre for both grades. Diesel users are not spared either, with an increase of 70 cents for 50ppm and 73 cents for 500ppm.
This adjustment means that a litre of 95 Unleaded petrol will now cost R22.52 in coastal regions and R23.24 in inland areas. Meanwhile, the less expensive 93 Unleaded will be priced at R22.92. The Department attributes these increases primarily to strengthening international oil prices throughout January. A weaker South African rand has contributed approximately seven cents to the overall price escalation.
Brent Crude oil experienced a rise to an average of $82 per barrel in January, a significant jump from $77 in the previous month. This surge in oil prices is attributed to several factors, including optimistic economic data from the United States, the announcement of stimulus measures in China, and concerns over supply disruptions amid the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, as reported by Reuters. As of February 6, oil prices had moderated to around $77, offering a glimmer of hope for potentially less severe price increases in March.
The Automobile Association of South Africa has expressed concern over the impact of these hikes on household budgets, particularly as many are still recovering from festive season expenditures. They advise consumers to be more vigilant with fuel consumption and budgeting in light of the new prices coming into effect next week. The Association recommends maintaining vehicles in good condition, strategically planning routes, and avoiding heavy traffic as effective measures to enhance fuel efficiency.
These price hikes pose another challenge for South Africans, who are already grappling with economic pressures, emphasising the need for prudent financial and resource management in the months ahead.