Petrol rises to record high

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

The price of all grades of petrol will go up by 17c at midnight tomorrow.

This takes the price of 93 octane, commonly used in Gauteng, to a record high of R7,50 and 95 octane at the coast to R7,40. The rise breaks the tradition of fuel prices coming down in February, last year the petrol dropped by 23c a litre.

Mike Schussler, chief economist at T-Sec, said: "February is usually the best fuel price month, so this doesn't bode well for petrol prices this year."

International oil prices dipped last month, but the period used to calculate this month's price was longer than usual. Normally, the department of minerals and energy fixes the coming month's fuel prices on the Friday preceding the first Wednesday when it takes effect.

A decision to leave petrol prices unchanged in January was taken before the Christmas break.

"This month we are feeling the effect of oil briefly going above $100 (R738) a barrel," Schussler said. "Another factor is the weakening rand."

Government regulates the retail price of petrol, fixing the price once a month by octane level irrespective of whether the petrol is leaded or unleaded. Inland drivers pay 14c a litre more than at the coast because transport costs and pipeline levies are added.