Motorists can breathe sigh of relief as petrol price gets set to drop

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Instead of a mad rush to fill up before higher petrol prices on the first Wednesday of the month, motorists will be coasting on empty until then to save 8c a litre.

This is the first drop in the petrol price motorists have seen since February.

On July 4, 93 octane commonly used inland will drop to R7,03 a litre, and 95 octane at the coast will go down to R6,92.

The 8c drop gives a little respite to South African motorists, who have seen the price go up R1,50 from March to June.

The petrol price went up a record 69c in April, then 34c in May and 23c last month.

The coming month's fuel prices are announced by the Mineral and Energy Department on the last Friday of every month.

Government regulates the retail price of petrol, but allows some competition among garages for diesel. The wholesale price of diesel will increase by 11c on Wednesday.

April's sharp petrol price increase was blamed for inflation breaking government's 6percent ceiling.

This month's 1percent drop in petrol is unlikely to outweigh the price pressure that the increase in the diesel price will have on food production and transport.

This respite in petrol price increases might be temporary though.

US oil prices jumped back above $71 (about R499,56) a barrel in New York trading on Friday after a government report showed that gasoline inventories dropped unexpectedly just as the northern hemisphere's summer driving season was about to hit its peak.

Meanwhile back in South Africa, the department said on Friday the wholesale price of illuminating paraffin would rise by 17c a litre, while the single maximum national retail price of illuminating paraffin would increase by 22c.