Santa will bring some petrol relief

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

The petrol price soared to more than R10 a litre this year, but saw the third quarter's sales slump to a five-year low.

SA's petrol consumption dropped by more than 10 percent to 2,6 billion litres between July and September compared with the same period in 2007, data from the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) showed.

The petrol price peaked in July at R10,50 a litre for inland 93 octane, before dropping to R10,20 in August and R9,51 in September.

This took the third quarter's average price more than 30 percent higher than the R6,90 averaged of the third quarter of last year.

November's inland 93 octane price is R8,79 a litre. Now that international oil prices are plummeting, consumers are hoping this will bring December's price to under R7,40 a litre.

The fourth quarter is traditionally the best month for garages thanks to family holidays. Petrol sales were almost 3 billion litres in the last quarter of 2007 and 2006.

Government's petrol price regulation system sets garages' cut to 67,3c a litre irrespective of what the full price is. So the lower the petrol price, the higher the sales volumes and revenue for garages.