Price dip good for motorists

Sibongile Mashaba and Getrude Makhafola

Sibongile Mashaba and Getrude Makhafola

The good news for motorists today is that at midnight the price of petrol will go down by R1,34 a litre.

But the bad news is that not everything will go down immediately. Consumers will have to wait a few more months to reap the returns of a lower petrol price.

The petrol price will go down from R7,18 to R5,84 inland and will drop by R1,35 in coastal areas.

The last time motorists paid less that R6 for petrol was in February 2007 when the price was R5,75 a litre.

Economists, however, do not foresee food prices and other necessities such as transport fares dropping immediately.

Tony Twine of Econometrix said yesterday: "We have to expect the cycle of prices going up and down to continue until the global economic turmoil has stabilised.

"The petrol price drop may last, it may even go lower but it is hard to say. Motorists must regard this as a bonus."

Twine said the good news was that food prices were gradually going down around the world.

Theo de Jager of AgriSA said: "I don't foresee agricultural products decreasing, especially in the first quarter of this year. We might see that as the year progresses.

"But it will all depend on good rains and an increase in food production.

"Food prices are high because we import more than we produce now and that puts pressure on costs," de Jager said.

Department of Minerals and Energy spokesman Bheki Khumalo said: "Between November and December last year, the average international product prices of petrol, diesel and paraffin decreased."

But, taxi and bus commuters will not benefit from the lower prices of fuel. Bus companies said the increase or decrease of petrol or diesel did not affect their operations.

Putco spokesman Matlakala Motloung said: "We have a contract with the government to increase fares once a year and we are not affected by the fuel price."

Diesel, which cost R8,68, is going down by R1,67, while paraffin decreases by R1,31.