Here’s how South African fuel prices have changed so far in 2020
Unfortunately, as the restrictions were gradually lifted, so too the fuel prices started to climb again as global oil prices recovered from one of its biggest crashes ever at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But how expensive is it to fill up, compared to the hard lockdown months, and the beginning of the year for that matter?
The bad news is that petrol prices have risen sharply, as you’ll see in the table below, but the good news is that it’s still somewhat cheaper to fill up than it was in January.
At the beginning of the tumultuous year that was 2020, a litre of 95 Unleaded petrol cost R15.52 at the coast while 93 Unleaded was listed at R15.84 in the inland regions.
However, these prices tumbled in April and May, with 95 ULP sinking to R11.52 at the coast and 93 ULP going as low as R12.02 inland. But prices have since crept up, with 95 ULP now R14.16 at the coast and 93 ULP costing R14.66 inland.
Those putting diesel in their tanks have had a slightly better run in recent months, with October seeing a price cut of almost one rand.
For the record, the year started out with 50ppm low sulphur diesel commanding a wholesale price of R14.13 at the coast and 14.67 at the coast. Prices then hit lows of R10.59 (coast) and R11.19 (inland) in May, before gradually rising to today’s R11.80 and R12.39.
Keep in mind though that we are only able to quote wholesale prices for diesel as this fuel type is deregulated and thus retail prices differ from station to station. We included the wholesale prices for comparison purposes, but do note that you will pay more at your nearest forecourt. But do shop around.
What does the future hold for fuel prices?
Although things can change very quickly on the oil price and currency fronts, we are currently seeing a period of relative stability, with Brent Crude trading at $43.06 per barrel. For the record international oil prices fell to around $20 a barrel earlier this year, but they were as high as $80 a barrel in 2018, showing just how volatile these energy markets can be.
If current trends persist until the end of October, South Africans could be looking at a petrol price cut of around 15 cents a litre, with the diesel price likely to remain unchanged or tracking slightly in either direction.
"So far in October we have seen both the rand/US dollar exchange rate and international oil prices working in South Africa's favour,” the Automobile Association said.
“After a large spike in the daily exchange rate in the second half of September, the rand has returned to its previous leisurely strengthening trajectory, improving from around R16.70 to the dollar at the start of October to its current level of about R16.55," the association said.
By Jason Woosey