EDITORIAL | How much are petrol price hikes fuelled by state policy? SA needs to know
Calculating increases is complex, but we at least need an assurance that the sums are done with our interests at heart
The petrol price on Wednesday hits a record high R19.50 a litre while diesel is increasing by R1.48 a litre to more than R17. To add to our woes, it is more than likely that motorists will be paying R20 a litre for petrol before the year ends. As the prices are adjusted every month, South Africans can be forgiven for feeling a bit like the fabled boiling frog placed in tepid water, which is slowly brought to the boil and cooked to death before it even realises it. The water has indeed become warmer and warmer for us over the past year: petrol has climbed by more than R5 per litre since January.
Besides the catastrophic fuel and diesel price hikes, the cost of illuminating paraffin is also soaring, while the maximum retail price for LP gas is shooting up by R2.90 a kilogram. The price hikes affect everyone, from public transport users and vehicle owners to those who use paraffin and gas (about 4% of households, according to Stats SA’s general household survey in 2019 (http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=14854)) for cooking.
This is all the more reason for our government to sit up and take notice when organisations such as the Automobile Association (https://aa.co.za/) call for a review on how fuel prices are calculated. There are factors outside the government’s control, such as demand imbalances, refinery costs and natural gas price hikes, but it should not be let off the hook so easily...