Tough road ahead for consumers in March as fuel prices increases

The petrol price is set to go up again this week. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ Independent Newspapers.

The petrol price is set to go up again this week. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ Independent Newspapers.

Published Mar 5, 2024


With the cost of borrowing in South Africa remaining elevated, consumers will be forced yet again to adjust their monthly budgets as the fuel price adjustments were announced yesterday.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has added to the cost-of-living crisis for consumers, with fuel price increases set to take place on Wednesday this week.

Motorists filling up with petrol will see an increase of R1.21 cents per litre for both grades of fuel, 95 and 93 ULP and LRP.

Diesel (0.05% sulphur) users will see a R1.06 cents per litre increase and diesel (0.005% sulphur) will go up by R1.19 cents per litre.

This means that a litre of 95 unleaded petrol will cost R23.73 at the coast and R24.45 in the inland regions, while 93 unleaded petrol will increase to R24.13.

The wholesale price of 50ppm diesel will increase to R21.91 at the coast and R22.62 inland.

Neil Roets, the CEO of Debt Rescue, told Business Report that the increases would have a significant impact on consumers in the country.

“These increases directly affect transportation costs, leading to higher prices for goods and services across the board. For many South Africans, whose budgets are already tight, this escalation in the cost of living will intensify financial pressures, potentially driving more people into debt as they struggle to afford basic necessities,” Roets said.

The department also stated that Transnet Pipelines had decommissioned the Kroonstad pipeline on December 31, 2023.

“This has affected the 4 Magisterial District Zones (MDZ). In line with the Ministerial approval, the transport tariffs adjustments that are applicable to petrol and diesel price structures will range from a decrease of 5.7 c/l (8C) to an increase of 0.9 c/l (10C). As a result, the different transport tariff adjustments for the 4 MDZ will be implemented with effect from the 6th of March 2024,” the department said.

“The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, with the concurrence Minister of Finance, approved an increase from 0.1 c/l to 1.0 c/l in the IP Tracer Dye Levy that is applicable to Diesel with effect from 6 March 2024. This increase is temporary until the 5th of March 2025. The IP Tracer Dye levy will decrease to 0.5 c/l thereafter,” it added.

Roets said: “Additionally, the introduction of the Slate Levy, adjustments in transport tariffs and the temporary hike in the IP Tracer Dye Levy, while it might seem small, add to the financial strain on consumers. These elements contribute to the economic difficulties faced by South Africans, highlighting the need for a thorough strategy to tackle financial distress.

“I am extremely worried about the short and long-term impacts of these fuel price rises on South Africans’ financial health. It’s vital that policymakers recognise the wider economic effects of such measures and strive to lessen their negative impacts on consumers. We need to support and provide relief to those at risk of financial hardship, ensuring that economic recovery efforts are fair and beneficial for everyone.”

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said illuminating paraffin (wholesale) would also increase, by 64 per litre.

SMNRP for IP goes up by 85 cents per litre, while the Maximum LPGas Retail Price has been set for an increase of 41 cents per KG.

South Africa’s fuel prices are adjusted monthly, informed by international and local factors.

International factors include the fact that South Africa imports crude oil and finished products at a price set at the international level, including importation costs, for example, shipping costs.