hike fuels blues

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Petrol is going up again tomorrow and this will not only be a massive headache for motorists but for petrol attendants - and pumps - as well.

South African Petrol Retailers Association (Sapra) said some pumps would not be able to handle more than three digits because it is the first time a litre of petrol will cost R9,38.

Sapra chairman Wessel Strauss said the older model fuel pumps in the country could not display amounts higher than R9,99.

"If petrol costs R13 a litre the pump will only show R1,30. So it will have to be multiplied by 10 in the short-term," Strauss said.

This means that hapless motorists and harried petrol attendants will have to resort to the old mental arithmetic to calculate the new fuel prices.

Strauss said at the old pumps motorists would have to multiply the amount on the pump by 10 to calculate what is owed for fuel.

Diesel customers will be affected initially, as the price will go up to R10,67 a litre for high sulphur and R11,72 for low sulphur, Strauss said.

"It is going to be confusing in the beginning, not only for the motorist but for the petrol attendants as well," he said.

"It's going to be a schlepp for the public."

The Department of Minerals and Energy was due to explain these short-term measures to the public yesterday, he said.

Meanwhile, the Automobile Association (AA) has warned that people with limited financial resources will be the hardest hit by the petrol price hike.

AA spokesman Gary Ronald warned commuters and vehicle owners that the higher cost of fuel was going to impact negatively on their disposable income for some time to come.

Ronald said: "It is more likely that petrol will go up again before the end of the year. We also anticipate that food, transport and other things will increase. People will not be able to afford the hikes and will struggle to make a living."

This is the third petrol increase for the third month in a row. Last month it went up by a whopping 67c a litre.

In March it increased by 61c on all octane levels.

The price of 95 octane petrol is set to increase by 68c a litre, while that of 93 and 91 octane will increase by 69c.

The wholesale price of paraffin will rise by 30,9c a litre, while the single maximum national retail price of paraffin will increase by 41c a litre.

lSee also page 18