Watch the pump

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Gauteng motorists had best check they are being charged R10,50 rather than R10,60 a litre of 93 octane petrol while confusion reigns among oil majors over how to interpret government's instructions this month.

Some oil companies said they understood the price to be R10,60 a litre, while others said the price should be R10,50.

Department of Minerals and Energy spokesman Bheki Khumalo said R10,50 was the correct price.

Old pumps, which the department has ordered garages to mark with "X10" decals, will be set to R1,05 per litre so that the final bill will have the decimal shifted one to the right.

This means July's petrol price jump is effectively 67 cents a litre for inland drivers tanking up with 93 octane and 68 cents for coastal drivers using 95 octane, rather than the 79 cents increase announced on Friday, which was then revised down to 73 cents on Monday.

The six cents lost to oil companies by rounding the R10,56 a litre down to R10,50 so all pumps can sell at the same price as required by government's fuel price regulation laws is to be paid back by motorists in coming months.

Though diesel jumped the R10 a litre barrier several months ago, it caused less chaos because government's price regulation regime has different rules for each type of fuel. With diesel, garages may set their own retail margin, allowing old and new pumps to sell at different prices.

Whereas with petrol all garages in the same region are legally required to sell for exactly the same price.