It was expected that South Africans would face higher fuel costs in March 2023, and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has confirmed this by announcing that both grades of petrol will increase by R1.27 per litre from March 1, with diesel going up by 30 cents (500ppm) and 31 cents (50ppm) as reported by IOL.
The DMRE has explained that the increase in fuel prices is mainly due to the higher increase in international petrol prices compared to diesel, resulting from lower inventory levels worldwide. Consequently, petrol has an under-recovery of 73 cents per litre, while diesel is up by 26 cents.
Moreover, the depreciation of the South African rand in February, with an average exchange rate of R17.74 to the US dollar, compared to R17.05 the previous month, has contributed to an increase of approximately 50 cents per litre in the fuel price equation for March. Lastly, the country’s negative slate balance of R2.7 billion has prompted an increase in the slate levy by 4 cents to 22 cents per litre.
This levy serves to reimburse fuel companies for the imbalances resulting from oil price fluctuations in the preceding month. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s announcement of price increases for petrol and diesel will significantly impact South African motorists’ budgets.
For instance, 95 Unleaded petrol per litre will cost R22.30 at the coast and R22.95 in Gauteng and other inland regions. Meanwhile, diesel will be priced at R21.08 on the coast and R21.72 inland, with retail prices slightly higher. As a result, drivers of petrol-powered vehicles will have to allocate considerably more money for their fill-ups this month.
The cost increase will vary depending on the vehicle and the fuel needed. For example, a refuelling of 30 litres for a small car like the Kia Picanto, which has a 35-litre tank, will cost R38 more in March than in February. A 35-litre refuel for a Volkswagen Polo will cost an additional R44.45, while a 50-litre refuel for a medium-sized car like a Toyota Corolla or Rav4 will come with a penalty of R63.50 compared to last month.
If a person fills up their vehicle four times a month, this can add up to an extra R254. Filling a 65-litre Toyota Hiace will cost an additional R82.55 in March, while a large luxury SUV like a Mercedes-Benz GLE will require an extra R95.
The Automobile Association has advised motorists to monitor their fuel usage carefully and budget accordingly to avoid financial strain. They also suggest maintaining vehicles in good condition, planning routes carefully, and avoiding heavy traffic to improve fuel consumption.